Protecting Suffolk

Suffolk police launch counter-terrorism partnership, website

An American flag.

The Suffolk County Police Department is partnering with the private sector to exchange information — including real-time surveillance video — on terrorism, active-shooter incidents and other crimes through a new website that launched Thursday.

Police Commissioner Timothy Sini announced the rollout of, where residents, business owners and school officials can sign up to get public safety alerts, updates on crime patterns and training on what to do in the event of a terrorist attack.

The website will also allow businesses, schools and other groups to register their surveillance cameras with the police for easier access during investigations and, in the future, give the department’s Communications Bureau the ability to view surveillance camera feeds in real time.

“It will make our investigations more efficient,” Sini said. “We have an incident, we know who has videos, we can go straight to them. That saves valuable time in the investigation. It allows us to get to important leads sooner in the investigation, which is absolutely critical.”

Sini, speaking at a news conference at police headquarters in Yaphank along with NYPD Counterterrorism Division Chief John O’Connell and other officials, said Suffolk decided to join the NYPD Shield initiative, which was started as a way to be proactive in the fight against terrorism and use of available technology.

Sini said the tools on the website would help residents, who must register and allow police to do a security background check, learn how to recognize and report suspicious activity and to provide businesses with vulnerability assessments to help reduce the likelihood of their being shooting victims or other kind of attack.

“When we came into this administration, we knew the best way to succeed was to go to the best departments in the country and steal their ideas,” Sini joked. “And [former NYPD] Commissioner [William] Bratton made it very clear to me personally that that was acceptable and that was a good practice and it’s continuing under Commissioner [James] O’Neill.

The NYPD started the shield program in 2005 and now has more than 17,000 members worldwide, O’Connell said, adding that the program has trained more than 81,000 civilians in subjects such as how to react during an active-shooter situation, what to do when there’s a suspicious package and terrorism awareness.

Nassau police have a similar program called SPIN, officials said.

“What this is is a great program to facilitate the creation of public-private partnerships to reduce the likelihood of terrorism here in Suffolk County and active shooter scenarios,” Sini said. “And if God forbid one occurs, to reduce casualties.”

The original article can be found here