County Executive Unveils "Safer Communities" Program

Feb 20, 2013

Credit Westchester County, Office of the County Executive

A county executive in the Hudson Valley is launching an initiative as a response to December’s Newtown, Connecticut mass school shooting. It’s called “Safer Communities”, and it kicks off next week with a symposium on school safety.

The “Safer Communities” initiative is in Westchester County, and culls resources from both inside and outside county government. County Executive Rob Astorino today unveiled the initiative, saying it will kick off February 27th at SUNY Purchase with a symposium on school safety that, for the most part, will be open to the public. He says the keynote speaker will be former NYPD Commissioner William Bratton.

Alfreda Williams, a Democrat, chairs the Community Services Committee of the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

What is necessary, she says, is a strong mental-health component. And the Republican Astorino says the second phase of the initiative will be a Community Violence Forum in April, held by the county departments of Health and Community Mental Health. He says county officials are working with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on this program.

He says there is nothing in this initiative that will cost taxpayers money.

As Westchester embarks upon the “Safer Communities” initiative, Vice President Joe Biden and the parents of a student killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown are scheduled to speak tomorrow at a conference on gun violence at Western Connecticut State University, where shooter Adam Lanza took classes.

Biden reportedly plans to address the president's gun-control proposals at the conference, which will include a panel on mental health issues. Gun makers and lobbyists were not invited to participate.