Suffolk County police are enacting an emergency hotline at schools designed to increase response times in a measure aimed at preparing for the possibility of a school shooting like the Newtown massacre.

The School Active Violence Emergency hotline, or SAVE for short, will provide direct lines from school buildings that will automatically dial the police department’s 911 center supervisor, who can immediately dispatch officers. School officials who use the phone will be able skip the step of an initial interview with a 911 operator.

“This system will allow officers to get details on an emergency which will ultimately better protect our school children and first responders,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Ed Webber said.

Police plan to have the system in place in the coming weeks, according to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. The move comes as Nassau and Suffolk county police have been running drills and holding seminars to prepare for an active-shooter situation in a Long Island school.

The department also considered implementing panic alarms in schools but opted against it because the alert would be too vague for a proper response.

The study was at the direction of the Suffolk County Legislature, which recently passed a measure calling for the department to look into the issue.

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“Time will be saved by providing a dedicated line for school emergencies,” said Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), who proposed the measure.


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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.