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Orange County Exec Introduces School-Safety Plan


Orange County officials Thursday announced a school-safety initiative they say could serve as a model for other counties in New York, and perhaps even elsewhere in the country. The safety plan comes one month after the mass school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. 

Orange County Executive Edward Diana made the following announcement.

He also announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Board, where members are volunteers, and there is no cost to the county. He said his deputy county executive James O’Donnell will chair the board, and board members include Terrence Olivo, chief operating officer for Orange-Ulster BOCES; and Kenneth Maxwell, who’s the vice president of security for JetBlue Airways and a retired FBI investigator. Again, here’s County Executive Diana.

The Republican said without the support of the county legislature, the initiative cannot move forward as planned. Here’s Republican Chairman of the Orange County Legislature Michael Pillmeier, who supports the plan.

He says County Executive Diana will present his plan to the Ways and Means Committee next week, and Pillmeier expects the plan will be approved there and then head to the full Legislature next month, where he expects no opposition.

Asked from where the money would come, Diana replied, from surpluses, and:

He said each school district would submit a written plan on school safety, to enhance the plans already in place. The plan would then go to the Blue Ribbon Panel, and a decision would be made as to how much money each school district would be allotted.

Diana said he believes both the state and the federal governments should be involved.

He said he is speaking with his local state assembly members, state senators, the governor’s office, as well as with New York’s U.S. Senators and Congressman, to push for more funding.

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