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After violence in the spring, Nassau County to step up policing at schools

Office of County Executive Bruce Blakeman

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman has announced new measures to protect students when they return to schools next week.

In response to a surge in violence and districts hiring armed security last spring, the County is urging parents to alert school officials of any issues, whether in-person, online or via social media.

“If your kids see something or hear something on social media, you got to let us know,” Blakeman said. “It's very important. It's the only way we can stop something bad from happening, if we know in advance.”

Blakeman added that information would be shared through a collaboration between the Nassau County Police Department and the County's Division of Homeland Security to set up further precautions.

The safety initiatives include giving “Go Bags” to every patrol car for officers to use during emergencies. Additionally, “Operation Overwatch” will ensure that tactical vehicles are used to monitor schools outside. The county is also providing a free security audit for districts “that functions as a community needs assessment,” which is frequently reviewed by the Legislature and other county departments.

“This is all about saving lives,” Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. “We have done security assessments with every single school. All 56 school districts and the 100 private schools in the county have the Rave app, all have had the assessment [and] all have had security measures put in place, working together with us as partners.”

The Rave app allows educators and students to alert police to respond faster to emergencies inside of schools.

Ahead of the start of classes, Blakeman said he has been working closely with the Nassau County Legislature, Police Department, fire marshals and local fire departments to make sure programs are fully funded and have enough employees to assist in emergencies.

Clare Gehlich is a news intern at WSHU for the fall of 2023.