Harckham, Latimer Announce State Funding for Westchester Correction Officer Safety

State Sen. Pete Harckham at podium with (l-r) Westchester Correctional Officer Benevolent Association President (WCOBA) President Neil Pellone, County Executive George Latimer, Westchester Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins and DOC Commissioner Joseph Spano

White Plains, NY – New York State Senator Pete Harckham and Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced today an initiative to enhance safety for correction officers of the Westchester County Department of Correction (DOC). Thanks to a $200,000 state grant secured by Harckham for the County, the County’s DOC will be upgrading the current staff body alarm system that was installed in 1999 at the Westchester County Correctional Facility. Upgrades include transition to the computerized latest system, along with installation of additional indoor and outdoor repeaters and transmitters.

The announcement came at a special news conference held in the Michaelian Office Building here that was attended by Westchester Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, DOC Commissioner Joseph Spano and Westchester Correctional Officer Benevolent Association President (WCOBA) President Neil Pellone.

“Recognizing that our correction officers work in an environment that is sometimes unpredictable, it was an honor collaborating with WCOBA President Neil Pellone to identify how we could enhance operational safety for both staff and residents at the County Correctional Facility,” said Harckham. “I also want to thank Commissioner Spano and his Technical Services Unit for identifying certain body alarm system enhancements that would accomplish that goal. This is a true team effort.” 

The computer-based system connects to units worn by all of the correction officers working at the County Correctional Facility and allows them to call for help in the event of an emergency. When activated, the units transmit a signal to the facility’s main control center and the Department’s Emergency Response Team. 

“Our correction officers work in a complicated environment and rely on technology of this nature to ensure personal safety and for those in their care,” said Latimer. “I thank Senator Harckham, Commissioner Spano and WCOBA President Pellone for their efforts and collaboration on this important security enhancement.” 

“The personal body alarm system has been invaluable over the years, protecting both staff and residents during emergency situations,” said Spano. “Having the ability to proactively enhance the current system is a tremendous benefit and one that’s appreciated by all levels of DOC personnel.” 

Added Pellone, “WCOBA thanks Senator Peter Harckham for securing funding to upgrade the personal body alarm system within the Westchester County Jail. Enhancing this critical system will directly impact the safety of the correction officers represented by our association. I greatly appreciate the work Senator Harckham and his staff did to secure this funding and thank County Executive George Latimer for supporting this initiative.” 

Work is expected to begin in the spring of 2022.

To watch the full press conference, click here.