NY Metro InfraGard presents their first Hudson Valley Security Summit focusing on Active Shooter Awareness on March 15 from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM at the GE Crotonville Leadership Center, located in Ossining. The interactive session will feature top experts discussing detection, response, and coping strategies for active shooter situations.
“When seconds matter it’s critical that people know how to get to safety quickly. This is why active shooter panels like this are important,” Senator David Carlucci, who represents Ossining and parts of Rockland County, said of the event. In addition to calling for the federal government to follow New York State’s lead in passing stricter gun laws, Sen. Carlucci emphasized that “we want people to be prepared and know what to do if they find themselves in an active shooter situation.”
“I’m supportive of every opportunity for community members to partner with law enforcement and leaders across the public and private sector to improve public safety,” said Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity of the InfraGard summit. “Protecting our community is a shared responsibility.”
InfraGard is a collaboration between the FBI and the private sector made up of people representing businesses, academic institutions, state and local government, and law enforcement agencies, along with other participants for the purpose of sharing information and intelligence to protect national security. Though the event is sponsored by NY Metro Infragard — one of 85 chapters under the umbrella organization of InfraGard National — which works in partnership with the FBI, it “in no way represents the FBI, nor InfraGard National,” Vice President of NY Metro InfraGard Dave Solano stressed. “This is strictly NY Metro InfraGard Members Alliance. InfraGard is a program the FBI started. It was a collaborative effort of the private sector, professionals, and the Bureau. In creating these InfraGard organizations, individual member alliances, they now better position themselves to have direct contact and direct relationships with the private sector so if they need to deal with somebody, a company, a corporation, they’re not coming in as a cold stranger.
“There’s a lot of ‘Oh my god, the FBI’s here. What did we do wrong?’ You know, that kind of paranoia that sometimes comes into play,” he added, noting the summit aims to help alleviate such concerns.
“Any citizen who has an interest to attend is welcome. There’s a site they need to register at. Other than that, there are no exclusions,” said Bob Coulombe, a retired Colonel from the New York Air National Guard and past president of InfraGard Hudson Valley Chapter, who is helping organize the event. “This is an open dialogue.”
Among those scheduled to appear on the discussion panel are Westchester police department active shooter expert Sgt. Audrey Bernhardt, Peekskill Councilwoman Vanessa Agudelo, and President of Chappaqua Transportation Seth Corwin. Also invited are a dozen thought leaders with backgrounds in government, finance, bereavement, civil air patrol, and legal matters. Topics on the agenda are Behavior and Signs; Incident Management and Crisis Response; Traffic and Crowd Control; Media Communications; Support for Victims and Families; and Recovery.
In discussing the importance of having a strategy in place for active shooter situations, panel speaker Dan Blum, President and CEO Phelps Hospital, touched upon the far range of these unspeakable attacks. He said, “What we’ve seen across the country when you look at these incidents of violence or active shooters is that this can occur in any community whether it’s a densely populated urban environment or a rural, bucolic environment. There are so many different organizations that could be a target, whether it is an employer of a material size who has a staff member or a disgruntled client who creates a problem, or a school system, or a religious organization, or some kind of critical infrastructure, or municipal leaders. When that occurs, the ability to communicate and have some expectation of process is critical in nature.”
NY Metro InfraGard notes the event is not a training session, but an exploratory assembly on thinking strategies. The discussion is free for the public, although since InfraGard receives no government funding, a donation of $25 is suggested. Those wishing to attend are encouraged to register as early as possible, because a background screening is required for security purposes.
“An active shooter event is catastrophic by virtually every definition. It impacts a community and resonates even after the events are years old,” said Col. Coulombe. “One of our major thrusts of putting this event together is to find solutions.”
The GE Crotonville Leadership Center is located at 1 Shady Lane Farm Road, Ossining, NY 10562.
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