101 Council Addresses Terrorism
101 Council Addresses
By Miriam Rosenberg
The 101 Precinct Community Coun-cil held its monthly meeting on Wed-nesday, March 19. Near the end of the meeting, and just a little over an hour before the first bombs fell on Iraq, the topic turned to how the police would handle the increased threat of terrorism if a war begins.
Sgt. Kenneth McGrorty, sitting in for Inspector Kenneth Lindahl, described some of the precautions being taken to guard against terrorism in the Rock-aways.
"Obviously the city has started 'Operation Atlas,'" said Sgt. McGrorty, mentioning the security program the city has put in place to help guard against terrorism attacks in the wake of the war in Iraq. "What it means for us is increased police coverage at sensitive locations - power plants and stops along the 'A' line. There'll be increased security at schools, churches, mosques and temples."
He said it is very likely that local schools would be used as Red Cross locations in the event of a disaster. For this reason, Sgt. McGrorty suggested that neighborhood residents be aware of where all the schools in their area are located.
In addition to getting the news of emergencies out by the use of television and radio, all precincts have a telephone notification protocol system.
"We have a community notification telephone protocol that we utilize in the event of certain incidents ranging from shootings to homicides to just about anything," explained Sgt. Mc-Grorty. "We reach out to key persons - tenant leaders, pastors, elected officials who we contact when it pertains...and we provide them with the information that would be useful to them."
Community Affairs officer Detective Willie Olmeda, a member of the council, echoed Mayor Bloomberg's sentiments by saying citizens should be vigilant and aware of their surroundings but at the same time continue to lead their lives.
"You have to enjoy everything that Far Rockaway has to," said Detective Olmeda. "It has probably one of the most beautiful beaches around."
Detective Olmeda also advised citizens not be afraid to use the train.
Sgt. McGrorty addressed The Wave's question about safety of the vast waterways and shoreline in the Rockaways. He added some comments on protection in the skies as well.
"We have a harbor launch that comes out of Howard Beach and, from what the governor said on TV, you'll also see an increased presence of the Coast Guard," said McGrorty. "They also said you'll probably see an inc-reased military presence in the air too. That's nothing to be scared of. That's something they're going to use as a precaution."
The New York Police Department has set up a page on their website to help citizens better understand the elements of 'Operation Atlas.' Also included on the site is a link to a page called 'Household Preparedness.'
The page contains information from the Office of Emergency Management that all New York City households should know in the event of an emergency or disaster. The three components in 'Household Preparedness' are "What to Have in Hand" or a "To Go" kit in the event of an evacuation, "What to Have in Your House" or an "In-Home Survival Kit" and "What to Have in Your Head" by developing a "Household Disaster Plan."
You can get further information on 'Operation Atlas' and the link for more details on 'Household Preparedness' by going to http://www.nyc.gov/html/ny-pd/html/atlas.html.
If you think you may have knowledge of suspicious behavior that could be terrorist related, a NYPD flyer instructs you to call the terrorist hotline at 1-888-NYC-SAFE (1-888-692-7233). All calls are kept confidential. Make a note of things such as sex, race, age, hair color and length, clothing and peculiarities like scars and tattoos and the type of vehicle (and the license plate) that the person was driving. Remember - do not do anything. Let the police handle things.