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Nassau seminar on 'active shooters': Put plans in place

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano with Nassau County

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano with Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale and other officials speak about a forum for school officials and others on dealing with 'active shooter' situations at Adelphi University in Garden City, New York. (Jan. 7, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Participants at a seminar about "active shooters" in public places Monday strongly urged institutions to have plans in place to deal with the situation.

"If you have a plan, you will save lives," Nassau County police Commissioner Thomas Dale said at a news conference after the morning seminar at Adelphi University in Garden City.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, the police department and the Nassau County Board of Cooperative Services (BOCES) organized the seminar in response to last month's shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that killed 20 students and six staff members. Some 500 representatives of schools, hospitals and businesses attended.

"The threat of active gunmen is real, and it's one we must do all we can to prepare for and prevent," Mangano said at the news conference.

Dennis Sheridan, vice president of administration for Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, said dealing with such gunmen is "a community issue, not just a law enforcement issue."

He urged local institutions to "develop a plan and share it with the Nassau County Police Department."

Alan Itchkow, head of security at Temple Israel in Great Neck, said a security plan is in place at the synagogue, "but we are looking to augment it. Today, we've learned about a variety of resources available to us, some of which we were not completely aware of."

David Newman, head of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island, based in Syosset, said the seminar "gave us an opportunity to hear what other people are doing and to learn that we are all in the same boat, and how to help us keep safe. We learned how the police will respond and how we should respond to them."

The seminar was the fifth of its kind in the past year.

The news media was excluded from the event because "sensitive information would be discussed," Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said.

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