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- Westchester Politics, Never Boring..
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Westchester County Police enlisted the help of their helicopter for a rescue today after a Peekskill man and his 6 year old son got stuck in deep mud in a marsh off Croton Point Park.
Police received an emergency call around 3:40 p.m. from the 34 year old Dad who found himself trapped in mud up to his waist and his son in mud above his waist.
Westchester County announced today that it's forming a multi-agency Incident Management Team to help coordinate police, fire, EMS and other agencies around the County when responding to large-scale events such as an act of terrorism or a natural disaster.
Federal and State officials have identified such multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional management teams as a crucial element of preparedness and response for any significant emergency.
New York City and several counties in the State have already established similar teams, while others are in the works.
With Westchester facing a 130 million dollar budget deficit in the next fiscal year, County Executive Rob Astorino is proposing consolidating the County's Public Safety and Emergency Services Departments, a move he says will save Westchester $3 million over the next three years.
Astorino has asked the County attorney to prepare legislation to be submitted to the Board of Legislators to implement the plan. If approved, the resulting merger would be put into place on January 1, the start of the new budget year.
Westchester County is turning up the heat on drug traffickers. Its newly launched effort known as Operation Pressure Point kicked off a week ago, and already officials have seized two kilos of cocaine, a .50-caliber revolver and other handguns, more than $500,000 in cash and a quantity of heroin and marijuana.
With prom season nearly upon us, Westchester County has kicked off its annual safe prom initiative, an educational and law enforcement program designed to deter teen drinking and keep party-goers safe.
The County's Office of Drug Prevention and Stop-DWI Office has already been focusing on educating parents, high schools, caterers and limousine companies about the law and the county's zero-tolerance policy on underage drinking. In the next few weeks,local police departments will kick off their enforcement detail in which limousines are physically checked at random to ensure underage kids are not drinking.
Public Safety Commissioner George Longworth says the program has been successful, "Each year less and less alcohol is being confiscated from young adults heading to their proms. However, we will remain vigilant to ensure that all of Westchester County's high school proms remain alcohol-free."
This year's effort is being managed by the Department of Public Safety as well as the Taxi and Limousine Commission. The Department of Community Mental Health also plays a role by participating in school forums around the County for teens and their parents.
The effort is financed in part by fines generated from DWI convictions.
Just days after a suspect was arrested for his alleged involvement in a failed car bombing attempt in Times Square, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino Thursday assured County residents that Westchester has a broad range of public safety and counter-terrorism initiatives in place to keep residents safe.
Astorino says the Department of Public Safety and its law enforcement partners gather intelligence information daily and implement other counter-terrorism initiatives to protect residents, businesses and critical infrastructure in the County from possible terrorist activity.
Earlier this year, the Department of Public Safety merged its Crime Analysis Unit and the department's Counter-terrorism functions into the Westchester Intelligence Center. The move put all intelligence gathering and sharing information under one roof,something officials say eliminates the risk that valuable information could fall through the cracks. In addition, authorities say the move better enables both departments to share such information.
Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, George Longworth says there are numerous systems in place designed to combat terrorism. They include a County Police Detective assigned full time to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The County has at its disposal, the police Aviation Unit that regularly conducts counter-terrorism patrols over such areas as the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants, the Tappan Zee Bridge and New York City watershed properties.
Longworth adds that County police patrol officers, as well as the Aviation and Marine Units are equipped with radiation detection equipment. Such detectors, he says, have the capability of identifying a vehicle or vessel carrying a so-called "dirty bomb" made up of radiological material.
In addition to systems in place, Longworth says teams pay unannounced visits to a wide range of locations throughout the County from transportation hubs to busy shopping areas to provide an additional layer of security to key locations in Westchester County.
Westchester County officials announced Monday that the Westchester County Department of Public Safety has reduced overtime by about 25% in the first quarter of the year under a consolidation plan implemented by County Executive Rob Astorino and commissioner George Longworth.
The consolidation plan, which streamlines Public Safety's operations and services and reduces the need for overtime is extimated to save the County $1 million this year.
Around the Country
- Southwest to Cancel Flights as Jets Checked for Cracks - BusinessWeek
- Schumer: Dems slicing budget with scalpel, Tea Party using meat ax - CNN (blog)
- Duke lacrosse accuser arrested in boyfriend's stabbing - CNN International
- House GOP: $4 trillion in cuts - CNN
- Bachmann bids for 'bama eyes - Seattle Post Intelligencer
Around the Planet
- Afghans Continue Protests Over US Quran Burning - Voice of America
- Japan's nuclear workers try to trace leak, dump radioactive water - Los Angeles Times
- OSCE raps Kazakh election, presses for reforms - Reuters
- Newsmaker: Yemen survivor Saleh juggles forces to keep power - Reuters
- France says finds bodies in Atlantic crash wreckage - Reuters