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State Funding Secured for Westchester Correction Officer Safety

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By Rick Pezzullo
WCOBA President Neil Pellone

Westchester County Executive George Latimer and State Senator Pete Harckham last week announced an initiative to enhance safety for correction officers of the Westchester County Department of Correction (DOC).

Thanks to a $200,000 state grant secured by Harckham, the county’s DOC will be upgrading the current staff body alarm system that was installed in 1999. Upgrades include transition to latest system version and installation of additional indoor and outdoor repeaters and transmitters.

The computer-based system connects to units worn by every correction officer working at the County Jail and allows them to call for help in the event of an emergency. When activated, the units transmit a signal to the facility’s main control center and the Departments Emergency Response Team.

“Our correction officers work in a complicated environment and rely on technology of this nature to ensure personal safety and for those in their care,” Latimer said.

Funding to support software and hardware upgrades for this computerized system was secured by Harckham through collaboration with Latimer, DOC and President of the Westchester County Correction Officers Benevolent Association (WCBOA) Neil Pellone.

“Recognizing that our correction officers work in an environment that is sometimes unpredictable, it was an honor collaborating with WCOBA President Neil Pellone to identify how we could enhance operational safety for both staff and residents at WCDOC,” Harckham stated. “I also want to thank Commissioner (Joseph) Spano and his Technical Services Unit for identifying certain body alarm system enhancements that would accomplish that goal. This is a true team effort.”

“The personal body alarm system has been invaluable over the years, protecting both staff and residents during emergency situations. Having the ability to proactively enhance the current system is a tremendous benefit and one that’s appreciated by all levels of DOC personnel,” Spano said.

Work is expected to begin in the spring.

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