Campaign staff and security for Governor Kathy Hochul and Representative Lee Zeldin may need to review their security protocols as they face off for governor following a rally attendee attacking Zeldin during a event in Western New York on Thursday night.
The assailant was charged Friday with attempted assault.
The New York State Police provides security protection for the governor and lieutenant governor, but other candidates are not entitled to the same details.
“Based on what happened yesterday, other candidates will really have to review their security procedures or consider contracting with a security company that can provide these services to them,” said Jeff Rinaldo, captain at the retirement of the Buffalo Police Force, partner of Vista Security Group. a guard service that provides security at schools, sports teams, concerts and the protection of executives, including high-level officials. “And we’ll really have to have a threat assessment looked at that can keep tabs and monitor things like social media and other platforms so that they can have an approximation of how many attendees and what threats, if any, may attend these events.
Thursday night’s attack leaves questions about how other threats could be averted at future campaign events in the coming months as the election season continues.
Rinaldo said people are increasingly making outside threats to politicians or political candidates.
“There’s a lot of polarization among candidates who stand firmly on the left or right side of the proverbial aisle,” Rinaldo said. “It’s different…because you’re constantly looking at the crowd threat landscape to determine what level of security is needed and find that balance between access and security.”
People attending a gathering or event are generally not subject to security checks unless law enforcement is aware of a potential threat.
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray spoke out against the violence directed at Zeldin and said that while the threats against elected officials are not unique, violent acts or incidents continue to grow. more frequent.
“The type of violence we saw yesterday directed at Congressman Zeldin is absolutely heinous – it is unacceptable,” Bray said Friday. “It’s not right that we’re seeing violence directed at our public and our elected officials, period. There’s no place for that in this state. There’s no place for that in this country.
“…There has been more mainstreaming of the idea that violence is, sometimes, okay to pursue a grievance and that’s just not the case, and we need to call it out,” he said. she adds. “And we always have to make it very clear that there is no room for that.”
State police cannot provide details of an increased presence or security plans following Thursday night’s attack. Bray expressed confidence that law enforcement will protect officials.
“They are absolutely taking the steps they need in light of yesterday’s attack to do just that,” she said.
The Zeldin campaign did not return a request for comment on Friday about the increased police presence during the events following Thursday’s attack.
The attack will not deter Hochul from holding public campaign events with voters.
“Governor Hochul’s top priority is keeping every New Yorker safe, whether at school, at work or at a political event,” said Jen Goodman, press secretary for Friends of Kathy Hochul. , in a press release. “Consistent with the past 11 months, the governor will continue to host public campaign events and meet with voters across the state.”
But law enforcement cannot do it alone. Police are urging New Yorkers to keep an eye out for campaign events with hundreds or thousands of people. If you attend an event, police are urging New Yorkers to watch for suspicious behavior.
“For safety reasons, our advice would apply to people planning to attend a large gathering: be fully aware of your surroundings and if you see something, say something,” the spokesperson said. New York State Police Beau Duffy in a statement. “If you see suspicious behavior, report it immediately to the authorities.”
Security at political events will continue to be a balancing act for campaigns that must weigh the cost of additional security guards, which Rinaldo says typically cost between $50 and $75 per guard per hour, and consider occurrence of a heavily watched event.