Albany County awarded $600k security grant

Funds will help build countywide emergency communications, terrorism prevention

— The county recently received $6 million to upgrade the first half of its 911 infrastructure, but the remaining work will require another $5 million to complete.

“If something were to have happened here, you would need something where we are all connected,” said Mary Rozak, spokeswoman for the county executive. “I think this is one of the lessons we learned on Sept. 11, that our communication structures can be hit.”

McCoy said his priority since taking office has been to ensure law enforcement and health officials have the necessary resources to keep the public safe.

“It is crucial that we work together to ensure that the county remain up to date and provide state-of-the-art security programs on all levels,” McCoy said in a statement. “We do not know when or if a situation will occur in our area, but with this funding in place, we can be prepared and that is crucial.”

McCoy said receiving grant funding for these initiatives is important with the tax levy cap.

“We are all trying to live within the 2 percent cap and we are trying to do things for less, but we still have obligations to protect the public,” McCoy said. “It helps continue this mission without me having to raise funds to continue it, because that is when things get tougher.”

McCoy said a cell phone can’t be thought of as a stable communication tool during emergencies because cell towers could be disrupted, service could be limited and an influx of calls or texts can overwhelm systems.

“Cell phones are not reliable because it depends on power,” he said.

The Medical Reserve Corps is looking for physicians, physician’s assistants, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, paramedics, mental health professionals, respiratory therapists, epidemiologists and social workers to volunteer. Residents without any medical training are also encouraged to volunteer for other roles, such as interpreters, management and data entry.

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