GHENT – On Saturday morning, May 21, the newly-completed P.J. Keeler Columbia Columbia County Emergency Services and Response Training Facility was dedicated. It is located at the end of 50 Grandinetti Drive off Bender Boulevard at the south end of the Columbia County Airport within the Gerald R. Simons Commerce Park.
The Chairman’s Proclamation presented by Columbia County Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Matt Murell lists some of the reasons why the facility bears EMS Coordinator P.J. Keeler’s name. Mr. Keeler has been an active member of the A.B. Shaw Fire Company in Claverack for 46 years, a 42-year member of the Greenport Rescue Squad and is credited with leading the effort to create and implement a coordinated EMS system, the first of its kind in the state. He also developed a plan to fund the 2018 state law requiring volunteer firefighters to have insurance coverage for cancer-related illnesses. The Columbia County Volunteer Firefighters Association awarded Mr. Keeler the 2019 “Lifetime Firefighter Achievement Award”
Making presentations on behalf of Mr. Keeler in addition to Chairman Murell were county fire Coordinator George Keeler, Stuyvesant Supervisor Ron Knott, friend and retired Pittsfield Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski, Director or the Columbia County Emergency Management Office David Harrison, and Veterans Service Agency Director Gary Flaherty who presented a proclamation on behalf of state Senator Daphne Jordan (R-43) who was unable to attend.
At the podium, Mr. Keeler spoke of the importance of the work that the first responders do.
“What we do actually matters in people’s lives,” he said. “People remember our calm in the face of crisis.”
And at that point he remembered his friend and collaborator on many of these projects the late James Van Deusen for whom the new fire training tower at the site is named.
Mr. Van Deusen, who died in March 2017, was a lifetime member of A.B. Shaw Fire Company, County Fire Coordinator, Claverack Town Councilman and Deputy Town Supervisor.
Grant supports arrested parent protocols
HUDSON — In partnership with Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood (GHPN) and The Osborne Association, the City of Hudson Police Department (HPD) was awarded a grant of more than $120,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) through their Community Policing Development Program.
The grant will support the development of model policy and training materials for parental arrest protocols, and build the capacity of other law enforcement agencies and the larger Hudson community to safeguard children when their parent or caregiver is arrested.
“It is an honor for Hudson to receive this award and to see the recommendations from our Police Advisory & Reconciliation Commission become a reality,” City of Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson said in a press release. “Taking steps to protect children’s mental health in traumatic interactions with police will help in the long-term well-being of our communities.”
While arrests of any kind can be traumatic, children’s exposure to the arrest of a parent, caregiver, or family member can be particularly psychologically harmful to them, and can lead to behavioral and emotional challenges in their development. But with proper resources and training, law enforcement and community-based organizations serving youth can minimize these effects while promoting community safety and well-being.
“HPD is proud to be recognized as a partner with this grant to serve our community more effectively. We are passionate about building better relationships with Hudson families, especially with our youth. We have confidence that this collaboration will provide officers with training and resources to mitigate risk of exposure and trauma of children during police interactions,” Hudson Police Commissioner Shane Bower said in the release.
With the support of this award, the Hudson Police Department will consult with Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, the Osborne Association, and former law enforcement leadership and other experts with experience implementing child-sensitive arrest policies in their communities to adapt and incorporate the Safeguarding Children of Incarcerated Parents Model Policy developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police into HPD’s practice. The grant will also support the establishment of Hudson as a hub for child-sensitive arrest resources and training for other small and mid-sized law enforcement agencies interested in implementing these policies with their own communities.
“The Osborne Association thanks the Hudson Police Department and Mayor Johnson for the opportunity to partner with them and the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood to support the well-being of children who witness a parent’s arrest,” Osborne Association President and CEO Archana Jayaram said in the release. “Police officers are in a unique position to reduce the fear and apprehension of children who are present during an arrest–a potentially traumatic experience with lasting impact on a child’s life. Well-defined protocols and practical training will expand on police officers’ tools to safeguard children, helping support healthy families and strong communities, as well as strengthening police-community relations.”
Further updates on the progress of this policy and training project will be made available on the City of Hudson’s website, cityofhudson.org.