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Suffolk County Expands Security Camera Initiative After National Spike In Shootings

security cameras
Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

In the wake of a national spike in gun violence, Suffolk County police will partner with local businesses to connect their security cameras to the county's police crime center to use during emergencies and identify active shooters.

The Sharing to Help Access Remote Entry, or S.H.A.R.E. initiative, was launched for county schools in Sept. 2019 to allow police access to close circuit television cameras in the event of a school shooter. The expansion would now allow the police to access cameras in supermarkets, shopping centers and big box stores.

“We have seen shootings in our schools, in movie theaters, in shopping centers and supermarkets, everywhere across this country,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “It’s one of the things that keeps me up at night, as a County Executive — that we can have one of these shootings here in our community, on Long Island.”

Bellone spoke at Suffolk County police headquarters about the initiative at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Miles away while Bellone spoke, a gunman fired shots at a Stop & Shop in West Hempstead in Nassau County. One person was killed and two others were injured. A suspect was arrested later in the day.

Bellone called on Washington and the federal government to pass legislation to curb gun violence. There have been 167 mass shootings and murders in 2021, with over 10,000 injuries, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The most recent mass shooting was on April 15, when eight people were killed at a Federal Express warehouse in Indianapolis. And a gunman died after a seven-hour standoff with police in Branford, Connecticut, where he shot at passersby from a building last week.

“We don’t need perfect solutions, we need solutions,” Bellone said. “And if something needs changes, you adjust it. You move forward. But this inaction in the face of one mass shooting after another is absolutely disgraceful.”

Additionally, the county’s police department’s will conduct one of their active shooter drills at the Middle Island King Kullen on May 2.

“We're going to take action on the local level. We are going to continue to do everything we can. The Suffolk County Police Department is going to continue to be out on the lead on this,” Bellone said. “But that is not a substitute for action at the national level when this is clearly, unmistakably, a national problem.”