Friday, June 13, 2014

Religious leaders, law enforcement hold annual pre-summer meeting 

Each summer, the population of Sullivan County alone triples as Hasidic residents of New York City move to the Catskills to enjoy the warm weather months and as has become tradition, religious leaders and law enforcement met Thursday to discuss community-related concerns.

It’s all about partnerships, current ones and forging new ones, said Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois, in whose Goshen facility the session was held on Thursday.

Rabbi Abe Freidman, a community leader law enforcement chaplain, helps coordinates the annual meet-and-greet.

On the minds of leaders this year are the repeated incidents of active shooters in schools around the nation, said Freidman.

“We have camps that camp thousands of kids at one location and if God forbid something happens like this, we need the collaboration and cooperation with law enforcement, because without them, we are very concerned about the safety, and that is one of the reasons the meeting is important,” he said.

Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff is well aware of the issue.

“That has been on our mind for quite some time,” Schiff said.  “You never know where or when something like that is going to happen and that seems to be happening with more frequency and it is something that all law enforcement and public safety workers would have on their mind.”

DuBois said they want to be ready for any and all contingencies.

“We want to make sure that we are aware of responsibilities on certain kinds of responses,” DuBois said.  “Obviously, with Route 17, our fear is the heavy traffic during the summer months, especially during the weekends. We all want to be on the same page when it comes to responding and doing the right thing.”

Among other issues discussed at the meeting were construction areas, the move over law and the Sloatsburg meeting area on the Thruway, which is used by thousands of religious Jews to pray.

A large contingent of law enforcement attending the session included local and State Police, representatives of the FBI, USPI, DEA, Department of Homeland Security, New York State forest rangers, MTA Police and a number of sheriff’s from area counties. Also in attendance was were Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus and District Attorney David Hoovler, who all concurred how important it is to have open lines of communication.


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