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Suffolk officials tout emergency hotline amid Sandy Hook anniversary

With the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting Saturday, Suffolk County officials are reminding parents and educators of an emergency hotline installed within some school buildings and available to other schools.

The School Active Violence Emergency (SAVE) Hotline is a direct phone line placed in one or several locations in a school building and programmed to automatically dial the Suffolk County Police 911 center supervisor.

Currently, 74 schools in 10 districts in Suffolk are using the SAVE Hotline, according to a news release from county Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai).

The hotline enables a supervisor to have an instant display of the incident location -- including a school's floor plans and, if available, security camera footage -- and provide immediate verbal communication. That confirms for both the police department and the school that there is an incident and police are responding.

The system is designed to expedite police response time in active violent situations. It allows the caller to bypass the usual intermediate interview with an emergency complaint operator, resulting in the sending of the closest available resources by the supervisor.

Earlier this year, Nassau County officials announced that wireless panic alarms that connect to police via a two-way microphone and equipped with a GPS are available for distribution to all schools in Nassau County.

A year ago Saturday, gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 students and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Since then, schools across Long Island -- especially at the elementary level -- have tightened security in a variety of ways, from adding security guards to video surveillance, sophisticated door locks and buzzer entry systems.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the SAVE Hotline "will provide law enforcement with the information they need to effectively and expeditiously respond to an emergency."

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