Morris Law Enforcement Hosts Safety Presentation for Jewish Community

Published on October 26, 2023

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office, Morris County Office of Emergency Management, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, and Morris County Police Chiefs’ Association hosted a security summit for local police officials and members of the Jewish community on Wednesday, October 25, 2023. Entitled “Ensuring the Safety and Security of the Jewish Community: A Multifaceted Approach,” the summit focused on the current threat level and existing security protocols, and to explain the availability of preventative resources.

Speakers included Sheriff James M. Gannon, Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Mendham Township Police Chief and Morris County Police Chief’s Association President Ross Johnson, FBI Supervising Special Agent Mustafa Shalabi, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Paul Landstrom, Morris County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) Commander Gino Fluri, MCPO Detective Supervisor Joseph Ellis of the MCPO Intelligence Unit/Homeland Security and MCSO Analyst Jane Recktenwald, Morris County Office of Emergency Management Director Jeffrey Paul, Morris County Critical Infrastructure Coordinator Patrick Owens, and Greater Federation of MetroWest NJ Chief Security Officer Thomas “Chip” Michaels. State Senator Anthony Bucco and Morris County Commissioner Deborah Smith also gave remarks.

Presenters provided a breakdown of how federal, state, county, and local agencies share information and coordinate. Information was presented to the audience about how the MCPO is available to conduct Vulnerability Risk Assessments upon request at houses of worship, best practices for security and emergency response, the importance of advanced preparation for special events, and how houses of worship can apply for state and federal grants.

Community leaders and members were able to network with law enforcement following the presentations.

Sheriff Gannon said, “Our Community Outreach and Planning Section (COPS) and our Morris County Sheriff’s Trends and Analysis Team (MCSTAT) communicate regularly with all our County’s over 350 Houses of Worship to assure that they can practice their faiths free of fear and intimidation. Wednesday’s meeting at the Office of Emergency Management was a day supported by Prosecutor Robert Carroll and his Office, and the Morris County Police Chiefs, led by Chief Ross Johnson.  It was held in furtherance of our stated goals of safety and assurance.”

Prosecutor Carroll said, “The tragic, hateful, and antisemitic attacks in Israel again remind us all for the need for extreme vigilance in reporting suspicious persons or unusual activities to law enforcement.  The established lines of communication with our faith leaders have enabled us to reassure our citizens of the coordinated protection that is in place in Morris County, and indeed, in New Jersey. While there is no specific threat yet identified, intelligence and specific warnings will be provided if and when deemed credible.  We will continue to dedicate resources to escalate both visible and covert law enforcement coverages of our religious institutions and congregations. The cooperation and watchfulness of our community members is a vital component to assist law enforcement’s oversight capabilities.”

Mendham Township Police Chief and Morris County Police Chief’s Association President Johnson said, “The concerning rise we have seen in bias, hate, and antisemitic crimes over the past few years is something that is constantly on our minds as chiefs of our local communities.     We continue to forge and uphold strong relationships with these groups in our communities to help ensure their safety and help them address any public safety concerns. Given the horrific events of the past few weeks, we are more vigilant than ever with our Jewish communities, working with them to ensure their safety, as well as working with our county, state, and federal partners so we are on the same page and on a unified front. We encourage any house of worship who has a public safety concern to reach out to your local law enforcement agency to assist in addressing these concerns.”

Media inquiries concerning this press release should be directed to Public Information Officer Meghan Knab at [email protected].

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Sheriff James Gannon

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Prosecutor Robert Carroll