Westchester Ups Security in Response to Orlando

While the tragic shooting that occurred in Orlando, FL early Sunday morning may seem geographically distant, its nationwide impact has been palpable, as evidenced by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call to keep all state-building flags at half-staff today, in addition to assuring assuring New Yorkers of amped-up security measures across the state.

Here are some of the immediate safety precautions that have already been taken, and will continue to be pursued, throughout Westchester and the greater Hudson Valley region.

• Most notably, Rockland County’s 18th Annual Pride Parade in Nyack yesterday was attended by the Rockland sheriff’s office, plus an additional detail of bomb-squad officers and bomb-sniffing dogs. According to Rockland County Chief William Barbera, there was no sign of suspicious activity, but with the additional security, “everyone was very vigilant” and there was no cause for concern.   

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Metro-North riders will notice an increase in MTA police patrols, both on and off trains. You can also expect more uniformed and plainclothes officers, as well as random bag checks taking place in Grand Central Terminal and at major trains stations across their network. 

• With the Hudson Valley Renegades starting up the 2016 season this Friday, games will be monitored by their usual on-site sheriff’s-department presence, according to team management. As of now, team and Dutchess Stadium officials have not been instructed to add additional security by Major League Baseball, who receive their directives from Homeland Security.

• Some gay clubs and bars, like Rocks in Albany, have reported local police patrolling in strong numbers, mitigating the need to enhance their own on-site security. However, other venues, such as Ignite in White Plains, have chosen not to comment on the matter.

• According to Gov. Cuomo’s office, the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES) is in contact with local public safety officials and, according to an official release, “has increased monitoring of various large public gatherings, including various sporting venues throughout the State,” though they did not allude to specific events or locations.

• Spokespersons for Simon Property Group, which operates several regional malls, including The Westchester in White Plains and Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, declined to comment. 

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Anyone who sees suspicious activity is encouraged to call the Terrorism Tip Line at 1-866-723-3697 or e-mail ctcenter@nysic.ny.gov.

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