Letter: Nursing home guards not up to task

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone gives his first Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone gives his first State of the County address. (April 18, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

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Regarding the article, "Security guard cuts" [News, June 10], the safety measures provided by the 21 county security guards also protect more than 1,000 county workers throughout several agencies, including the Suffolk County Department of Social Services, Medicaid, Adult Protective Services, Child Protective Services and the Child Support Enforcement Bureau.

To suggest that social services' main focus is by and large, the harmless homeless population, is a misconception. Clients also include sexual predators, convicted felons, violent gang members and individuals suffering from mental illnesses, including some schizophrenics not taking their medication.

Dreamland Security employees, who would replace the county guards, are not experienced in handling this population. They now monitor the John J. Foley nursing home. They monitor patients at a nursing facility who are either confined to a wheelchair or suffer from dementia and traumatic brain injuries.

With the threat of human tragedy and the high cost of additional police presence that may emerge, the price of laying off security guards from the social service centers is just too high.

Cheryl A. Felice, Bohemia

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Editor's note: The writer is the outgoing president of the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees, which represents the security guards among other county employees.

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