Police want to teach young adults about risk of drugs, shooters

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Police want to teach young adults about risk of drugs, shooters
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

The Nassau County Police Department will host a forum to address issues of school safety, including active shooters, drug addiction and cyberbullying, on Sept. 25 at Hofstra University.

Speakers will also teach attendees about “stop the bleed,” a procedure for administering first aid to shooting victims.

The forum is intended for children and young adults from sixth grade through college because they tend to be at risk, said Nassau County police detective Maureen Roach.

For months, Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder has been leading an effort to hold community meetings to educate the public about the dangers of drugs. He thought a forum would be a good way to expand on the program and has been working closely with County Executive Laura Curran to prepare it.

“The School Safety Forum is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of our communities and educational institutions,” Curran said in a written statement. “We will continue to work together with our schools, community organizations, and the Commissioner’s Community Council to improve communication, collaboration, cross training and education.”

The Police Department hopes to draw at least 1,500 students and adults to the event, Roach said.

“It’s a very important meeting,” she said. “It’s things that really do affect our society today that can be changed and corrected if young adults are informed.”

Speakers will include Ryder, Curran, District Attorney Madeline Singas, Jeffrey Reynolds, president of the Family and Children’s Association, and Nassau County Police Department experts.

The Police Department revamped an initiative earlier this year to more fully address the issue of drug addiction by encouraging awareness and education about the issue while also strengthening enforcement.

The enforcement aspect of the program involves the department conducting arrests of drug dealers while offering treatment and diversion programming for individuals who experience overdoses. The first community the department took the initiative to was Massapequa.

“We saturated the community with enforcement, made many arrests and then went 60 days later,” Roach said. “Drug overdoses had significantly decreased.”

The initiative is called Operation Natalie, named after Natalie Ciappa, a high school student from Massapequa who died from a drug overdose 10 years ago. Her father, Victor Ciappa, might speak at the forum, Roach said.

The forum will begin at 7 p.m. at the David S. Mack Sports & Exhibition Complex in Uniondale.

Every young adult in attendance will receive a raffle ticket for the opportunity to win one of 25 gift certificates funded by the Nassau County Police Department Foundation.

Reach reporter Teri West at twest@theislandnow.com, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 215, or follower her on Twitter @mango266.

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