WHITE PLAINS, NY — Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. announced he has formed the Westchester County School Safety Commission comprised of leaders representing schools, educators, mental health experts and law enforcement throughout Westchester County, an initiative in collaboration with County Executive George Latimer. The commission is tasked with facilitating and implementing best practices to keep students, faculty and staff safe while in Westchester schools.
“With a new school year set to begin, the topic of school safety remains a focal point of national conversation,” DA Scarpino said. “Whether targeted by students, former students, former employees or an individual out to make a statement, it is important for schools to be prepared for any event that might put the safety of students and staff at risk.”
County Executive Latimer added: “Children should only have one thing on their mind when entering school each day – and that is learning. If even one child fears for their life just by entering a school building, that is one child too many. That is why our County Department of Public Safety, under the leadership of Commissioner Thomas Gleason, is hard at work making sure that schools are equipped with the resources they need to help ensure the safety of our children. I commend DA Scarpino and his office for their efforts bringing together all stakeholders to discuss this vitally important issue and how we can address it long-term.”
The commission will look for ways to complement existing local, statewide and national efforts to address school safety and focus on specific issues impacting schools and college campuses in Westchester County. Specifically, the Westchester County School Safety Commission will collaborate on how to evaluate and secure buildings in advance of and during an incident; how to communicate with law enforcement, other facilities, families and students before, during and after an incident; learn awareness about the red flags that a person in crisis may be exhibiting; and train teachers, staff and volunteers in these best practices.
Scarpino said the School Safety Commission supports the District Attorney’s mission to create a safer and healthier community. The inaugural meeting will take place in the DA’s White Plains office Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, at 10 a.m.
“By bringing together a group of stakeholders with the knowledge, expertise and communications skills to develop protocols focused on keeping our schools safe places for teaching and learning, we will be better positioned to respond to and take a more proactive approach to possible threats in the future,” Scarpino concluded.
While the Commission is still in formation, below is a list of newly appointed members:
· David Atkins, Captain, New York State Police, Troop K
· Harold Coles, District Superintendent, Southern Westchester BOCES
· Lisa Davis, Executive Director, Westchester Putnam School Boards Association
· Charles Gardner, Commissioner, Yonkers Police Department
· Thomas Gleason, Commissioner, Westchester County Dept. of Public Safety
· Lila Kirton, Bureau Chief, Community Affairs & Strategic Planning, Westchester DA’s Office
· Steve Lopez, President, Yonkers Board of Education/Chair, Conference of Big 5 School Districts
· Andrew Ludlum, Executive Director (Acting), Westchester Intelligence Center
· Walter Moran, President, Lower Hudson Council of School Superintendents
· Paul Oliva, Chief, Mount Pleasant Police Department/President, Westchester County Chiefs of Police Association
· Michael Orth, Commissioner, Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health
· Rocco Pozzi, Commissioner, Westchester County Department of Probation
· Joseph Schaller, Commissioner, New Rochelle Police Department
· Lisa Scott, Program Director, Westchester Jewish Community Services, Center Lane
· Kevin Sylvester, Chief, Ossining Police Department
· Joe Tadrick, Protective Security Advisor (NY District), U.S. Department of Homeland Security
· Dayton Tucker, Chief, New York State University Police Department, Purchase College