The SMCCA meeting, which took place at the Merrick Road Park clubhouse, was supposed to focus on progress that Nassau County has made in recovering from Hurricane Sandy and the myriad ways in which Long Islanders are still feeling its effects. But the group advertised that the meeting would also feature an update from its School Security Committee. As a result, several dozen parents of children in the Merrick School District turned out to voice their concerns about the issue foremost on their minds since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. — their children’s safety at school.
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano took center stage at the meeting. Joining him were Stephen Skrynecki, chief of the county Police Department, and Palma, who both focused on school safety.
Mangano said that he has worked with the Police Department “on best practices to deal with and prevent an active shooter situation.” He said that school cameras should feed into the Police Department’s “central intelligence system.”
Katie Grilli-Robles, a spokeswoman for Mangano, wrote in an email that the NCPD has contacted every school district in the county about giving police remote access to their schools’ closed-circuit TV networks. She described the districts’ responses as “positive” so far.
Palma stated in a later email that Birch, Chatterton and Levy-Lakeside schools have “extensive” camera coverage, but police are not yet able to tap into the cameras’ feeds. “My understanding is that they are still working on the technological aspects and legal aspects of this plan,” Palma wrote. The Police Department “did not give a timeline, nor any other details.”
At the meeting, Skrynecki and Palma enumerated additional steps that the NCPD and the Merrick district have taken or plan to take to boost school security. Skrynecki said that the department has instructed officers to familiarize themselves with school buildings and staff. He also said that police are doing all they can to prevent a school shooting by detecting threatening individuals before they go on a rampage.