MCPO Homeland Security Unit Provides School Security Assessment Training to Law Enforcement

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MORRIS COUNTY — In the ongoing efforts to secure our schools and promote a safe learning environment, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Homeland Security Unit provided School Security Assessment Training (Train-the-Trainer) to 60 Morris County law enforcement officers, the New Jersey State Police, and several officers from surrounding counties on July 19th and August 16th at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy. The School Security Assessment Training is designed to guide law enforcement in conducting school security assessments within their jurisdictions. The Director of Morris County Critical Infrastructure/Risk Mitigation Planner, Patrick J. Owens, the Union County Risk Mitigation Planner, Michael Boyle, and the Middlesex County Risk Mitigation Planner, Anthony Hazlhoffer, instructed both classes.

The course was designed and presented by the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program, Risk Mitigation Planners. The mission of UASI is to ensure the sustainment and enhancement of counterterrorism capabilities and to plan for and respond to catastrophic events. The UASI region includes Jersey City and Newark, as well as the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Morris, Passaic, and Union.

Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll stated: “there is no more important security assignment than protection of our children and teachers in the school facilities. Regrettably, we are faced with evildoers who wish harm to our precious children and protective and intelligence gathering measures as outlined in these programs will help harden our defense of our schools.”

The first class was held in 2013 after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. In 2018 after the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, classes were conducted statewide with the assistance and collaboration of the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. With the success and demand for the program, the New Jersey State Police has adopted the program and will be tailoring it to train Troopers in September. Hundreds of officers have been instructed over the past ten years.