Hauppauge, NY - May 7, 2013 - Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker today announced a major step forward to improve police response time to emergencies in our schools. At the direction of a resolution authored by Legislator Anker, the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) was tasked with completing a comprehensive study to determine the efficiency and cost of implementing an emergency notification system. The Department’s solution is the SAVE (School Active Violence Emergency) hotline.
The SAVE hotline will be a direct phone line that can be placed in one or several locations throughout a school building and would be programmed to automatically dial the Suffolk County Police 911 center supervisor. The supervisor would have an instant display of the incident location and provide immediate verbal communication. This allows instant confirmation for both the police department and the school that there is an incident and police are responding.
“We must do everything in our power to protect our children and with Suffolk County’s SAVE hotline we will provide schools with an additional cost effective option for school safety,” Legislator Anker said. “Time will be saved by providing a dedicated line for school emergencies, which will reduce response time. I commend the Police Department for completing this study so quickly and I look forward to working together to implement these recommendations.”
“The SAVE hotline will provide law enforcement with the real time information they need to effectively respond to an emergency,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “I applaud Legislator Anker for her leadership to make sure we do everything possible to protect our children.”
The police department has determined that the SAVE hotline would be a rapid, reliable, inexpensive system that is simple to utilize, and will expedite police response time in active violence situations in our schools. This hotline would allow the call to bypass the usual intermediate interview with an emergency complaint operator thereby resulting in an immediate dispatch of the closest available resources by the supervisor. The plan has the unanimous support of the Executive Board of the Suffolk County School Supervisor’s Association. At the direction of County Executive Bellone, SCPD will be working over the next few weeks to implement the system.
“When police officers respond to incidents, the more information they have going in, the better, said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Edward Webber. “This system will allow officers to get details on an emergency which will ultimately better protect our school children and first responders.”
In its review, SCPD also considered implementing panic alarms. However, this option was not recommended, because unlike a dedicated phone system, a panic alarm would only result in a notification to police that an incident is occurring, but would not provide the specific details that the police department needs to effectively respond. For instance, in a large high school, the panic alarm would not provide police with a sense of where the incident was occurring or the nature of the emergency, which in a non-life threatening event could result in a disproportionate response.
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