G'land residents deserve proactive safety measures in court

To the Editor:

In the wake of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, it’s time for a comprehensive review of security not only at the town court but also of the entire town office facility.

As the chief legal counsel to the Fraternal Order of Police, Washington Navy Yard Police Labor Committee, I and the FOP have been arguing with the Navy for years about the inadequacies of communications, the lack of police manpower and equipment, and the lack of training for the police officers at the Navy Yard.

I was in Washington, D.C. on Monday and at the Navy Yard scene within minutes of the active shooter alarm. And, as I waited and prayed for the yard employees and responding officers, I couldn’t help but think about our town court and the inadequate security measures that are readily apparent when you come to Town Hall.

I’m not going to go into specific aspects of the deficiencies of security in town court. But I believe that our town court facility can be significantly improved to protect litigants and court personnel.

And, our elected town-court officials not only have an obligation to insure that the court is secure, they have a duty to do what is reasonable and effective in protecting all those who work at and appear in town court.

Suffice it to say that there needs to be a complete review of security measures including:

— 1. Procedures for active shooter situations;

— 2. Procedures for dealing with individuals who come into the court with weapons;

— 3. The lack of training of court security personnel;

— 4. Separating victims of domestic violence from the alleged perpetrators; and

— 5. An increased uniformed police presence.

We don’t need reactive security measures. Town residents deserve proactive measures to insure their safety and security in town court.

Stephen G. DeNigris

Candidate for Guilderland Town Court

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