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Planned Parenthood Shooting Prompts Increased Security in At Least 2 States

California and New York both beefed up security.

By Lauren Stanforth

New York State Police will be present Monday at Planned Parenthood clinics across the state after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new security measures in the wake of the Colorado clinic shooting.

There are seven Planning Parenthood locations that offer women's health services in the Capital Region, which includes offices in Albany, Troy, Schenectady and Saratoga Springs.

Cuomo announced that State Police will visit the more than 60 Planned Parenthood sites statewide on Monday "to assist with security and emergency planning measures."

What, if any, specific changes might be implemented wasn't known Sunday.

"(Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood) is thankful that Governor Cuomo is taking the safety of our patients and staff seriously as we have always done at all three of our health centers in the Capital Region," Upper Hudson president Chelly Hegan said in a statement Sunday. Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood runs locations in Albany, Troy and Hudson.

Representatives from Mohawk Hudson Planned Parenthood, which has offices in Clifton Park, Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs and Schenectady, couldn't be reached for comment.

On Friday, three people were shot and killed, including a police officer, after a man entered a clinic in Colorado Springs. Suspect Robert Lewis Dean, who was taken into custody after a six-hour standoff, also allegedly wounded nine others.

While any motive for the shooting was still unknown Sunday, Planned Parenthood has long been a target of violence by some in the anti-abortion movement. Tensions have been recently increased after videos were released that allegedly showed Planned Parenthood staff discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue for research. Planned Parenthood officials have said the videos were edited and spliced together in a way that fictionalized the interactions.

Cuomo said after the attack Friday that State Police immediately increased patrols of many New York state Planned Parenthoods.

"The State Police will be patrolling clinics across New York on Monday, and our administration is working closely with dedicated Planned Parenthood staff and our local partners to ensure the safety of these health centers throughout the state," Cuomo said in a statement.

Hegan reiterated that Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood's locations will be open Monday and seeing patients under normal operating hours.

"We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country," Hegan said in a statement. "We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust."

(c)2015 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)

By Brenda Gazzar and Nereida Moreno, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Police stations across the Inland Empire and Los Angeles County were taking extra safety precautions after a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs on Friday.

San Bernardino Police Lt. Dan Gomez said they have upwards of 25 units in the field and will continue to provide extra patrols around the Planned Parenthood in San Bernardino throughout the night, as a precaution.

"Once we became aware of the situation in Colorado, we notified all of our field officers, providing increased patrols at our location (in San Bernardino), just as a precaution," Gomez said. "Although it sounds like it might be an isolated incident, we are patrolling our location here in the city."

Upland Police Lt. Eleno Arriaga said his units will also be heightened alert for the remainder of their shifts.

"Knowing the situation, we'll make sure our field supervisors are aware, and that they inform us if they see any suspicious activity in those areas," he said.

Los Angeles Police Department officials boosted patrols around "similar locations" a spokeswoman said.

"As of right now, there are no threats in the city of Los Angeles," LAPD Officer Rosario Herrera said.

In Canoga Park, LAPD Topanga Division Sgt. Alex Kim said officers went by the Planned Parenthood there Friday to make sure everything was all right but found it shuttered -- likely because of the long Thanksgiving weekend.

"It was closed and there was no activity," Kim said. "We'll probably check in every day to see if there's anything happening."

Sgt. Humberto Najera of LAPD's Devonshire Division said officers were apprised of active-shooter scenarios Friday in light of the Colorado attack and have been told "to be prepared in the event of an unusual occurrence," he said.

A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood in Orange and San Bernardino counties said the organization's No. 1 priority is the safety of their patients and staff.

"Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record. Our hearts are with the staff and patients at Planned Parenthood Colorado Springs, the officers and others affected by today's tragic shooting," she said in a statement.

(c)2015 the Daily News  (Los Angeles)

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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