Long Island schools to enhance safety plans for new academic year

HAUPPAUGE, New York (WABC) -- Suffolk County schools will start the new academic year with additional security.

On Wednesday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced a plan to increase school safety and the response rate of emergency personnel.

The latest initiative comes after recent public safety measures taken to ensure that students, teachers, administrators and staff remain safe in schools.

In 2017, there were 104 reported threats to school safety in Suffolk County. So far this year, that number has more than doubled, with 270 threats reported.

"Every time, I will tell you the truth, I drop my kids off at school and my heart hurts a little," said Vania Milan, a parent of a Half Hollow Hills student. "I get nervous."

The multi-pronged effort is designed to enhance patrolling of school buildings across the county ahead of the start of the 2018-2019 school year.

Suffolk County officials plan to develop relationships between emergency responders and school administrators, hoping to improve emergency response plans county-wide.

The county also plans to improve school security access for police and increase unannounced visits from police officers.

Additional officers will be assigned to the SCPD's Homeland Security Section to assess and evaluate current and future school security.

A School Resource Officer Training Course will also be made available for schools.

County officials also plan to establish a new mobile phone line that allows residents to confidentially "text a tip" to report any information pertaining to a crime or illegal activity.

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