Local officials who turned out Thursday to support Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s efforts to have federal gun control legislation passed, took the opportunity to speak about local initiatives.
Rockland County District Attorney Tom Zugibe said, “We are meeting regularly with the school superintendents and the police departments and all that. We are trying to formulate not a knee jerk response but a comprehensive approach to the problem.”
Zugibe said they are researching new technologies to improve school safety. The county began distribution today of free cable locks for guns at the Sheriff's Department and County Clerk's Office.
He supports New York’s newly passed gun control laws and the proposed federal legislation. He described Rockland as a relatively safe county but noted that many of the illegal guns found in drug sweeps and during auto stops are usually from out of state. Zugibe emphasized unless there are federal gun control laws are in place, gun violence will continue.
“We don’t have a wall around the State of New York so the guns are flowing in freely,” he said.
Harriet Cornell, chair of the Rockland County Legislature, backs the recommendations made by the Lower Hudson Valley Council of School Superintendents especially those dealing with mental health services and School Resource Officers (SROs).
“I have recommended that we endorse and support all of the points that the Lower Hudson Valley Superintendents Association have called for,” she said.
Cornell and Zugibe both spoke about the need to restore mental health services that were cut in the past for budgetary purposes. Cornell also called for more SROs. Since the SROs are in school buildings during the entire school day, Cornell said they become knowledgeable about students.
“They are really able to anticipate if there are problems in the schools and the communities because of their interaction with students,” said Cornell. “They are very, very valuable and we’d like to see that increase.”