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Police, Fire Play Role in Presidential Debate

Garden City's police and fire departments played an important role during Tuesday' presidential debate at Hofstra. (Credit: Tara Conry)
Garden City's police and fire departments played an important role during Tuesday' presidential debate at Hofstra. (Credit: Tara Conry)
Garden City's police and fire personnel both played an important role in keeping not only the president safe but Garden City village as well during Tuesday's debate.

The event placed Long Island in the national spotlight, particularly Hofstra University where President Barack Obama faced off with Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the second of three debates.

Volunteer firefighters were directed to "protect" Obama and the fleet of presidential helicopters, including Marine 1, during the debate and later when they departed Mitchel Field, according to Chief Charles Cavarra.

"The crew got an up close and personal tour of the fleet of helicopters - there were six or seven of them that the president uses to get around. We waited for him to depart," he said.

Mayor Don Brudie commended the tremendous work of police commissioner Kenneth Jackson and the entire police department during the Oct. 18 village board meeting. "We had a lot of Secret Service staying at the hotel. The hotel was very quiet ... There was a lot of activity in town even though nobody realized it," he said.

In this week's mayor's message, Brudie added, "Prior to the event, Garden City Police Commissioner Jackson and Lieutenant Doyle attended numerous pre-debate event meetings with the Secret Service, Nassau County Police Department, New York State Police Department and Hempstead Police Department as well as other local and federal agencies in an effort to develop operation plans to manage the security and traffic issues related to the event."

An operational plan was developed and implemented on debate day, the mayor said. "Officers were placed at specific locations in the eastern portion of the village to assist with traffic detours, road closures and security," he said. "In addition, the department utilized its license plate reader to monitor and record vehicular traffic."

Officers were also assigned to the Garden City Hotel, where numerous debate participants and federal personnel were staying, and monitored the train stations in the village for suspicious activities.

"The detail concluded with no unusual incidents reported," Mayor Brudie said. "Traffic on Clinton Road, Stewart Avenue and several side streets in the eastern portion of the village was heavier than normal due to numerous road detours associated with the event. Thanks to the Garden City Police Department traffic moved smoothly with minimal issues."

The fire department coordinated their efforts with Secret Service and Nassau County fire and emergency officials. "Our crew was just 30 yards away from the President and Marine 1 in the event they needed us," assistant fire chief Brian Gallo said this week in the Garden City News. "We were very glad we could help out at this historic local event.”

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