Nassau libraries add new emergency system

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The Port Washington Public Library will not be conducting a public vote on its 2020-21 budget due to concerns over COVID-19. (Courtesy of Nassau Library System)

Nassau County libraries will soon be able to summon the police with the push of a button.

On Friday, County Executive Laura Curran and Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick Ryder announced the installation of the RAVE Panic Button system at 54 libraries around Nassau.

“Too often we see the headlines of active shooter events,” Curran said during a news conference in Uniondale. “The RAVE App is critical in response to active shooter situations and will protect patrons while generating a faster response to emergencies. The RAVE Panic Button system does not replace 911 but will assist greatly with response time and essential monitoring of the situation.”

Among the libraries that will be receiving the system are Bryant Library in Roslyn, East Williston Public Library, Great Neck Library, Hillside Public Library in New Hyde Park, Manhasset Public Library, Port Washington Public Library and Williston Park Public Library.

The “panic button” itself is actually an app that allows a library staff member to notify the police. Without having to dial 911, the Nassau County Police Department can be notified if there is an active shooter situation.

“When a school or library can immediately contact the police, it can decrease our response time which will be of great benefit when seconds are crucial,” Ryder said.

The installation of the RAVE system will also allow police to access video cameras inside the library to quickly find the shooter. When activated, the app will also send police the floor plans and entrances to the library.

In addition to alerting the police of an active shooter, the app contains other buttons that can immediately notify the dispatcher of a fire or a medical emergency.

Keith Klang, the director of the Port Washington Library, praised the county’s decision to bring RAVE to the libraries.

“There is a range of different kinds of emergencies that can happen here … and I think having access to something that can alert emergency personnel and authorities quicker and expedites the whole process is a positive thing,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Curran administration said that the RAVE systems will be installed at the county’s libraries over the next couple of weeks. The cost of installation in each library is $450.

“Our public educational resources, where residents gather to learn and expand their horizons, can be targets for those who are trying to infringe on our freedoms,” said County Legislature Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams. “This is a great initiative for the County that shows we are moving forward in efforts to protect our communities.”

The RAVE system is already used in most school districts within Nassau, and neighboring Suffolk County has been using the app in public libraries for the past year. 

Reach reporter Luke Torrance by email at ltorrance@theislandnow.com, by phone at 516-307-1045, ext. 214, or follow him on Twitter @LukeATorrance.

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