GREENBURGH, N.Y. — The Greenburgh Police Department accepted a $9,000 donation from Metropolis Country Club on Thursday to upgrade the police rescue phone system that will aid authorities in crisis and hostage situations.
The phone system will be used by the department's crisis and hostage negotiation team to try to bring incidents to peaceful resolution through negotiation. The system upgrades include five cameras, a digital audio recording system and 1,000 feet of wire spool.
Lt. Brian Ryan said the timing of the donation is "uncanny" after what happened Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., as the equipment is designed to help police communicate with people who may be emotionally disturbed and are barricading themselves inside a building, possibly with hostages.
"It's a little birds-eye view of what's going on inside," Ryan said about the camera system. "The phone gives us a way to calm down the situation, or convince the person to let someone go and surrender."
In a situation where a person is suicidal, dangerous or may need help, but has locked himself inside the building, authorities throw a phone through a window of the building if they cannot reach the person inside. Even if the person refuses to communicate, the throw-phone device includes equipment that allows the police to hear and see the inside of the building, and for the person to hear an officer speak from the outside, Ryan said.
The funds for the system were raised during the Metropolis Country Club's 2012 Celebration of Giving fundraiser, and a check was presented to Greenburgh Police Chief Joseph DeCarlo on Thursday.