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9/11 Memories Keep Tuckahoe Police Chief Vigilant

TUCKAHOE, N.Y. -- The image that will always stay in the mind of Tuckahoe Police Chief John Constanzo from Sept. 11, 2001 was not one he saw at Ground Zero.

"We were driving down the Henry Hudson Parkway, which was open only for emergency vehicles, and we saw literally thousands of people walking home on the highway," Constanzo said. "Many of them were covered with dust."

With those images etched in his memory, Costanzo will join police in Eastchester and Bronxville, stepping up patrols this weekend, checking vulnerable areas, such as train stations, school buildings and municipal buildings. The program, created after 9/11, is a state-wide anti-terrorism campaign.

"We pay particular attention to the United Water facility and Con Edison" said Lt. Robert Jensen of the Eastchester Police Department.

In the past, Tuckahoe Police have handed out brochures, said  Lt. Peggy Belles.

The initiative is supported by the New York State Office of Homeland Security. The brochure reminds residents that there are signs of terrorism people should be aware of. Some signs people may notice include someone taking pictures or making drawings of an area, a person asking for information about operations, security or staffing, or someone in the area who seems suspicious or out of place.

Another significant thing police hope will be reported is an unattended package or bag.

"We will investigate anything that seems out of place," said Belles

The precautions have everything to do with the impact made on law enforcement after 9/11.

"We had so much uncertainty after the attack," Costanzo said. "We just didn't know what to expect."

Constanzo was a lieutenant on the Tuckahoe Police Department 10 years ago.

"After we heard the news about the towers, we called in almost all of our officers and we were all on patrol making sure our village was safe, when we got the call from the New York City Police Department," Constanzo said. "They asked for men and resources."

Constanzo said he and about half a dozen officers headed downtown. When they arrived, they were sent first to Chelsea Piers, then the Javitz Center.

"When we got to the Javitz center, there were police from everywhere, New Jersey, Connecticut and all over Westchester," Constanzo said. "We waited for direction."

Eventually Constanzo and other officers from Tuckahoe guarded the perimeter of Ground Zero.

"The rescuers did not want people getting too close," he said.

As the night wore on Constanzo and his crew were sent to the patrol the Brooklyn Bridge, where they stayed until about 3 a.m.

In the weeks that followed the terrorist attacks, Constanzo said the Tuckahoe Police sent officers back to Manhattan whenever they were needed.

"We participated in different details, guarding equipment, patrolling some of the many memorial services, and anywhere they needed us to go."

Back home in Tuckahoe, officers stepped up patrols at the train stations, schools and village hall.

"Practically the whole department was on patrol day and night," Costanzo said. "We even sent officers to our schools just to let the staff and the kids know we were out there."

Expect to see Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville heavily patrolled this weekend.

"We started with increased patrols over Labor Day weekend and we expect them to continue indefinitely," Jensen said.

Are you happy there will be increased patrols in Eastchester, Tuckahoe and Bronxville? Let us know below or on Facebook.

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