Officials at The Journal News have reported threatening communications from the public to both the White Plains and Clarkstown police.
The complaints stem from the Hudson Valley newspaper's publication Dec. 23 of an interactive map and database with names and addresses of all Rockland and Westchester county gun permit-holders. The article was similar to one the Gannett paper published in 2006 but has received far more criticism.
Among other complaints about the article, critics said it endangered either gun-owners or non-gun-owners and violated people's privacy rights. Many critics circulated the home addresses of TJN staffers around the Internet in retaliation.
The Rockland County Times reported Jan. 1 that after filing complaints with the Clarkstown Police Department the paper's officials hired "armed security guards from New City-based RGA Investigations" at the company's West Nyack offices on Crosfield Avenue through "at least" Jan. 2. The local police did not find the communications about which TJN complained to be threatening, the Rockland County Times said.
Police in White Plains, where the daily is headquartered, said they are investigating one or two threats that have been sent to police since the article was published.
Those investigations remain open, said Lt. Eric Fisher of the White Plains Police Department. He had no knowledge of whether or not TJN officials have hired armed guards for their Westchester Avenue offices.
"We are investigating a couple of complaints that were forwarded by their people," he said. "I don't know how many reports that they've had, but we are looking at a couple."
Fisher said he did not have specifics on what was said in the threats.
Meanwhile, a story posted on TJN website, LoHud.com, states that the paper received an envelope containing white powder that was opened by an employee at the White Plains bureau. White Plains police and firefighters responded to the scene, according to the paper's story.
White Plains Public Safety Commissioner David Chong was quoted in the paper's story as saying early tests showed the powder to be non-toxic. Whether the powder is connected to the controversy is not clear. Chong, in the story was quoted as saying “That would only be conjecture on my part right now. We'll investigate this as we would any similar threat.”
According to the New York Times, the publisher of The Journal News confirmed that armed security has been hired for both the Nyack and White Plains offices.
Meanwhile, the paper's Mount Kisco bureau has been relatively quiet. An analysis of Mount Kisco's police blotter going back to the map's publication date shows no reports made from its office. No guards were seen outside of the Mount Kisco building.
The Journal News covers Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties. Officials in Putnam County, which was still compiling the data when the article came out on gun permit-holders in Westchester and Rockland, have since said they will deny the request the paper filed under the New York state Freedom of Information Law.