man, woman, man, man standing next to each other wearing surgical masks

Latimer announces new leadership at the Department of Emergency Services

Former County Legislator Richard Wishnie to be named Acting Commissioner, County’s Assistant Director of Operations Susan Spear named Deputy Commissioner

You may also go to YouTube to watch the full press briefing.

View chart with active and total Westchester County COVID-19 cases.

County Executive George Latimer has named former County Legislator Richard Wishnie Acting Commissioner and the County’s Assistant Director of Operations Susan Spear Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services.

The Department of Emergency Services consists of four divisions: Fire Services, Communications (60 Control), Emergency Management (OEM) and Emergency Medical Services (EMS). The Fire Services division is comprised of four units: fire training, fire inspection, special operations and fire prevention and protection. The division administers, coordinates and maintains the fire training program that is available to Westchester County’s 58 fire departments.

The Emergency Communications Center commonly referred to as "60 Control" provides primary dispatch services for 52 fire departments and 32 EMS agencies in Westchester. The center is staffed 24 hours, seven days a week to handle fire and EMS mutual-aid requests going in and out of the county.

The OEM works with local, state and federal government to prepare Westchester for disasters. During a major emergency, OEM may activate the county's Emergency Operations Center, a state-of-the-art facility where the county, local municipalities, hospitals, utilities work together to keep the County safe.

The EMS division collaborates with local, regional and state agencies to enhance the effectiveness of the county’s Emergency Medical Services system, by providing emergency preparedness training, mutual aid coordination and incident management assistance during large scale events.

The Department of Emergency Services plays a critical role in keeping Westchester safe.

Wishnie was elected to the Westchester County Board of Legislators for six terms beginning in 1993.  He retired in December of 2005. Wishnie has an extensive record of public service in Westchester County. Prior to becoming a County Legislator, he served the Town of Ossining as Councilman from 1976-1979 and as Supervisor from 1979-1983. He has served as Chairman of the Ossining Open Door Health Centers, Westchester Health Source, the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps, and the Ossining Red Cross Disaster Team.

He has also served as an Officer and Director of the Ossining Chamber of Commerce, President of the Ossining Jaycees, Director of the United Way of Northern Westchester, a member of the Briarcliff Manor Volunteer Fire Department, and a Town of Ossining Auxiliary Police Officer.

He is the former Director of Operations of the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (1983-88), and served by appointment of the Governor to a Temporary State Study Commission on Workers Compensation Special Funds.

In Spear’s current role as Assistant Director of Operations she focuses on COVID emergency planning and response and Emergency Operations Center activities, Storm damage response, Indian Point emergency planning and public safety communications system upgrade.

Previously, she served as a Regional Director for United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman John Hall. In both of these roles she assisted Fire and EMS Departments in applying for and securing FEMA Assistance to Firefighter grants to replace outdated equipment and meet fire safety requirements, and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) grants to support recruitment activities and staffing.

Additionally, she worked with municipalities, non-profits, and residents in obtaining FEMA assistance resulting from several storms and subsequent federal disaster declarations – Superstorm Sandy, Hurricanes Irene and Lee, led statewide Hazard Mitigation Grant Program workshops to help communities build resiliency and prevent flooding, participated in NRC and FEMA activities regarding Indian Point emergency response and licensing actions and assisted with advocacy for and enactment of the original James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and its subsequent reauthorizations to ensure sufficient ongoing funding.

Spear also served four terms in New Hampshire House of Representatives holding several leadership positions in the New Hampshire House and with the National Conference of State Legislatures.