Chelsea IrizarryMay 24, 2018, 10:59 pmMay 25, 2018, 2:14 pm

Suffolk Exec. Steve Bellone targets school safety in State of the County Address

He also highlighted projects to improve water quality

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SELDEN — Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone delivered the annual State of the County address, choosing a high school gymnasium as the backdrop to highlight the issue of school safety.

“Santa Fe was the 22nd school shooting in our country in 2018 alone,” Bellone said.

Trying to put those worries to rest, Bellone says the county's police department is ready to respond quickly and aggressively if needed as they are continuously training and planning.

“We have deployed tactical vehicles in each precinct, and by the end of this summer, every patrol vehicle in the department will have the increased armor and weaponry necessary for individual officers to respond immediately,” he said.

But the department is not only focused on active shooter scenarios, but a broad range of public safety issues such as continuing to tackle the opioid epidemic, noting that MS-13 is on the run thanks to a comprehensive approach, including a collaboration with federal and state partners.

“Last year alone, the department made 222 MS-13 arrests, and we have no intention of letting up on eliminating this violent gang from our county once and for all,” he said.

Bellone says the cost of healthcare is the biggest financial issue facing the county at this time, as it continues to rise.

Another critical issue for Suffolk he spoke on was water quality, noting programs geared to tackle the issue, saying the science is clear that nitrogen pollution comes from old cesspools and septic tanks.

The county executive says one of his top priorities since taking office has been to focus on reimagining government, announcing new efforts to structurally improve the procurement process.

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