Watch full briefing HERE.

During the weekly Westchester briefing, Latimer discussed:

  • Latimer was joined by New York Association of Counties (NYSAC) Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario, State Senator Pete Harckham, the County’s Department and Community Mental Health and other key stakeholders to discuss Westchester County-driven legislation signed by Governor Hochul allowing Mobile Crisis Response Teams to use flashing green emergency lights
  • County Director of Energy & Sustainability Peter McCartt joined to discuss the County’s NuEnergen Demand Response Earnings
  • County news and Parks events updates



(White Plains, NY) – County Executive George Latimer, together with State Senator Pete Harckham and NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario, announced a new tool to help first responders arrive at behavioral health emergencies faster, and more safely in Westchester. Thanks to new legislation sponsored by Harckham and initiated in Westchester, the County’s network of Mobile Crisis Response Teams (MCRT) will now use flashing green emergency lights on their vehicles when responding to a call.

As part of Latimer’s “Project Alliance,” Westchester County deploys MCRTs throughout the County, connected to law enforcement and a “Crisis Network” phone line that serves to divert people in behavioral health crisis to the de-escalation and services they need.

At the outset, planning for these teams included a step-by-step analysis of needs and design, with the ability to arrive quickly and safely to those in crisis. The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH), in an effort led by Deputy Commissioner Joseph Glazer, worked closely with Harckham and his staff to draft legislation that would allow MCRT members to use flashing green emergency lights on their vehicles. Unlike flashing red lights, which require drivers to yield the right of way to emergency vehicles displaying them, flashing green lights request drivers to yield the right of way so they can arrive at the scene more quickly and safely.

Harckham and his staff drafted the legislation, not just for Westchester but as a statewide bill, recognizing a growing desire to create MCRT teams across New York State. The bill (S.5397/A.5604) was sponsored in the Assembly by Transportation Committee Chair William Magnarelli (D-Syracuse). The lights will be deployed to teams as defined with certain service model criteria.

The new law will become effective 180 days from the day it was signed by the Governor.

Latimer said: “The goal of Project Alliance is really to help first responders across Westchester to be better prepared, and able to meet the needs of the communities we all serve. This measure, shepherded to adoption by our own Senator Harckham, and Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, will serve to help us get to people in crisis faster and more safely.”

Harckham said: “Allowing Mental Health Crisis teams professionals in transit to use green lights on vehicles will certainly save lives. I thank Governor Hochul for signing this legislation into law and Assemblymember Magnarelli for his steadfast efforts in galvanizing support for expanded behavioral health initiatives like this, which signals to residents that ‘help is on the way.’ The Green Light law promises to enhance community wellness in many ways.”

DCMH Michael Orth said: “Since the inception of this model, we have worked to reinforce that our Mobile Crisis Response Teams serve our community as true first responders. That means they are prepared to help when called, and arrive as quickly as safety allows. By adding the use of green emergency lights to the toolkits they have, they will be better able to meet the needs of the people of Westchester.”

Glazer said: “I am so appreciative of everyone who helped bring this idea to fruition. Senator Harckham and his staff, Assemblyman Magnarelli and his office, our colleagues at NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Governor’s office, and our own Westchester County intergovernmental team who all worked together to make this the law in New York State. Across Westchester and our entire state, access to these emergency lights will further enhance our ability to create seamless, efficient systems to address behavioral health crises.”