Long Island religious leaders were briefed Monday on the best ways to react to a worst-case scenario: A gunman opening fire in a public place.
Rep. Peter King, R-Seaford, joined Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano and state and federal security experts in Bethpage Monday for a briefing about "best practices" during an "active shooter" incident at a public or religious institution.
King told Patch that the event was not in response to any specific threat.
"While there are no specific threats, I am always particularly concerned about the possibility of a terrorist attack during periods of religious and national observance,” King said, adding the briefing, "went very well and was well received.”
The briefing comes in the wake of deadly shootings in Colorado and Texas, and on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Jewish High Holidays begin Sunday night with Rosh Hashana.
“In this day and age we must be prepared to detect and fight both foreign and domestic terrorism,” Mangano said. “The county hosted this forum to increase preparedness and let religious leaders know that the Nassau County Police Department will take any and all threats to public safety seriously as nothing is more important than the safety of our residents.”
An "active shooter" is defined as an armed person who has used deadly physical force on others and continues to do so while having unrestricted access to additional victims.
The event drew about 100 representatives of houses of worship across Nassau County. It was held at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage Monday morning.
"Intelligence, state-of-the-art technology and expert policing are essential to safeguarding our committees and houses of worship," King said.
Nassau County Police Department’s intelligence, counter-terrorism and homeland security teams began the forum by outling how law enforcement responds to an active shooter situation. This included insight into communication, preparedness and prevention tactics.
Assemb. David McDonough, R-Merrick, Chairman of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Public Safety, moderated a question and answer period with a panel of experts. Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas V. Dale and Chief of Patrol Steve Skrynecki also addressed the crowd.
Mangano and Nassau County Police have hosted three previous active shooter demonstrations for public and private school officials. They also host an annual meeting with area rabbis about safety and security during High Holy Day services.