Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino joined New York State Assemblyman Michael Montesano and Public Safety Commissioner Justin McCaffrey on Jan. 19 to unveil a new emergency operations center on the town's North Shore. The center, located in the northeast section of the park near the shellfish hatchery, was made possible by a grant secured by the assemblyman.
The new emergency operations center, located at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and Beach in Oyster Bay, is utilized by first responders from the town's Bay Constable Division and Department of Public Safety, as well as the Nassau County Police Marine Bureau. It comes equipped with desks, computers, new communications equipment, a locker room and a restroom. Each division also has its own space within the building.
Montesano secured $100,000 in grant funding for the center as part of the State and Municipal Facilities Program, through which local municipalities work with state officials to help improve facilities.
"The health, safety and welfare of our residents has always been a priority for my Town Board colleagues and I, and we graciously thank Assemblyman Montesano for his efforts in helping us protect our residents on the North Shore,” Saladino said. “This new facility provides a base for emergency personnel who safeguard our waters and facilities and assists them in their very important roles of protecting residents."
Montesano said bay constables and public safety officers had been working out of a trailer since their original building was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The new building gives them a humane place to work with proper amenities, he said, something that had been lacking for years.
Since bay constables dock their boats in the Theodore Roosevelt Park marina, Montesano said the building also provides them with a place to hold people they arrest. With everything taken into consideration, Montesano said he has high hopes for the new center.
“I just hope that [the emergency operations center] helps them operate more efficiently and more safely,” Montesano said,” and that everyone working together increases the safety for our residents in our parks, our marinas and on the water.”
McCaffrey said Marine Bureau officers had been operating out of their cars when stationed on the North Shore, so the new center provides the first true home base in the area. Additionally, he said, bay constables and public safety officers had been operating in shabby conditions even before Sandy.
“We’re very excited about it,” McCaffrey said. “They’ve been working out of a trailer for over 20 years so this is certainly a big improvement and upgrade to their facility up there. This is definitely a step up.”
McCaffrey said the center will provide an excellent way for all three divisions to communicate with one another, as well as with the United States Coast Guard. This, he said, will be very beneficial in the event of an emergency.
Additionally, McCaffrey said the new building is in a prominent location at the park, which gives the public a better idea of where officers are stationed. He said this provides more of a connection to residents, as well as a place where they can reach officers 24/7.
Bay Constable Joe Rodgers said he is very excited about the new center. It is not only more comfortable for the officers it houses, he said, but it will make emergency response time much faster. The bay constables are in “pretty good shape” thanks to the center. Now they have just about everything they need, Rodgers added.