A greater police presence is planned across Long Island and New York City at gathering places for the gay, lesbian and transgender communities as well as at houses of worship in the wake of the terrorist attack at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, officials said Monday.
Nassau police officials warned bias against any members of the community would be not tolerated. Suffolk police announced stepped-up patrols will begin at LGBT venues and events. In New York City, the NYPD beefed up its presence at key sites around the city and at key LGBT community locations.
June is national Gay Pride Month, so the added security on the heels of the attack at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, has the law enforcement community in Long Island and New York City on a more heightened alert.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, in a radio interview on WINS 1010 AM, assured residents there will be an increased NYPD presence.
“I’ve said to all my fellow New Yorkers, they can feel very safe that there’ll be lot of additional police presence at all of these events,” he said.
De Blasio attended a vigil at the historic Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in Manhattan Monday night to “stand in solidarity with all members of the LGBT community, and obviously it will be a vigil in memory of those lost in Orlando.”
Nassau acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and County Executive Edward Mangano spoke at a news briefing outside police headquarters in Mineola, surrounded by heavy machinery and officers toting semi-automatic weapons in a show of force to deter any would-be terrorists.
Featured among the military-grade trucks was the department’s newest $250,000 purchase: The Rook, a 6-ton armored vehicle.
“In Nassau County — I’m gonna make this very clear — any kind of bias crime, any kind of hate crime regardless of the target, whether it’s based on religion, based on your sexual preference, anything, will not be tolerated,” Krumpter said. “We’ll investigate and we’ll do everything we can to arrest the offenders responsible.”
In Suffolk, the announcement was similar.
“This was an attack on who we are as a nation and what we represent — a love of freedom and the celebration of freedom in this country,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “We are here today to stand in solidarity with the LGBT community and to say this will not be tolerated. We will come together and we will stand together as a people, as a nation to fight back against this extremism.”
Nassau’s Krumpter said while the department will police aggressively, it’s also providing protection at churches, synagogues and mosques and at gathering places for gays and lesbians.
He said the department had already been providing security to mosques during the Muslim holy month and was in communication with community leaders from that faith when news of the terrorist attack spread.
In Suffolk County, Bellone and Police Commissioner Timothy Sini announced intensified police patrols and additional security measures at a news conference in front of LGBT Network’s headquarters in Bay Shore. More patrols are planned at LGBT events, pride festivals, clubs and cafes in the county.
Sini said Suffolk police are monitoring the situation in Orlando “very carefully.”
Sini said the department also will conduct enhanced outreach to members of the LGBT community and officials are communicating with Nassau police and the East End police departments to make sure everyone “is on the same page.”
Krumpter said the Nassau department dedicates a lot of resources to intelligence, specifically social media, but would not answer questions about the department’s interaction with the father of Orlando terrorist suspect Omar Mateen, who lived for several years in Westbury until 2003.