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Letter: SCPD is working to protect congregations

Reader letters to Newsday for Sunday, April 28, 2019.

Photo of the sign outside the Suffolk County

Photo of the sign outside the Suffolk County Police Department's 3rd Precinct on Oct. 3, 2018. Credit: Daniel Goodrich

We are all shocked and saddened by the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka. These attacks resulted in the death of more than 250 people and injuries to many. Houses of worship are special institutions, open and welcoming. These attacks join the list of other recent assaults on religious institutions across the globe and in the United States [“Make sure houses of worship are safe,” Letter, April 23].

The Suffolk County Police Department closely monitors attacks overseas and at home to ensure we are doing all we can to protect residents. We need to be ever vigilant. Our department is extremely proactive, training our police officers about suicide bombers since 2004. Sadly, out of necessity, this topic, along with an extensive counter-terrorism curriculum that includes active shooter response, must be included in recruit training.

Houses of worship are unique and, as such, our department utilizes specialized training called Safety in the Sanctuary. This course was developed by the Newberry County sheriff’s office in South Carolina after the church shooting in Charleston. Newberry County freely shared its curriculum. We have adapted it and shared with other departments. Currently, we’ve delivered the presentation 59 times, with more training planned. We also routinely visit houses of worship to assess security.

Our department will work with all religious institutions to maximize safety of congregants. We ask residents to report anything suspicious or unusual.

Geraldine Hart,


Editor’s note: The writer is Suffolk County police commissioner.

What next for the cleansers of history?

Now that the forces that power knee-jerk political correctness have tossed singer Kate Smith overboard [“The history-cleansing brigade,” Opinion, April 25], might we expect them next to scrub “Gone With the Wind” from American culture’s list of movie classics? After all, it might be argued that the film contains stereotypes of the dim-witted African-American slave girl (“I don’t know nuthin’ ’bout birthin’ babies, Miss Scarlett”) and the obsequious house servant.

While we’re at it, why not prohibit the teaching of World War II on the grounds that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were unspeakably and clearly racist toward the Jews, gays, gypsies, Catholics, etc.?

Jay Roberts,


Measles vaccine: No religious exemptions

I am concerned that more measles outbreaks could lead to a national epidemic [“CDC: Most measles cases in U.S. since ‘94,” News, April 25]. New York lawmakers need to approve legislation immediately to stop allowing nonmedical exemptions and not permit unvaccinated children in our public schools.

Measles was eradicated for decades, and now it is a public health concern. People are abusing the religious exemption allowed by New York State. Let’s agree with the medical professionals that vaccines are necessary and not let claims about the First Amendment stop us. Pediatricians need to reassure patients that any link to autism has been disproved. We need to do a better job educating the public. As a public school registered nurse, this is of great concern to me.

Christine Ricca,


Union might challenge Manhattan toll plan

Though a refreshing reminder that change is rarely easy, your editorial dismissed the difficult realities of policing as essentially just another special interest looking for an exemption to the coming congresion-pricing tolls [“Manhattan tolls present a puzzle,” Editorial, April 25]. The truth is complicated, and your analysis could have been more generous, compassionate and fair.

My members — the hardworking, diverse front-line professional law enforcement managers of the Sergeants Benevolent Association — and others will be hurt by congestion pricing. They have to be at precincts, hospitals, firehouses and sanitation garages at all hours.

The rush to implement congestion pricing is a textbook case of an issue getting so far ahead of how people live that the politicians patting themselves on the back will risk wrenching their shoulders.

My association is reviewing options for a legal challenge to this discriminatory tax. We also are reviewing the possibility of a public referendum to present this question directly to city voters, as it is an issue of local control.

New York City is more than Manhattan. It’s a shame that any public official needs to be reminded of that.

Ed Mullins,


Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association of the NYPD.


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