MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll, Chief of Detectives Robert McNally, Sheriff James M. Gannon, and Mendham Township Police Chief Ross Johnson, 2023 President of the Morris County Police Chiefs Association express their sincerest condolences to the Nashville community in the wake of the senseless killing of students and staff at Covenant School.
Recognizing that this incident has shocked and frightened members of our own community, Morris County law enforcement would like to remind the public of the resources available to them and of the working partnership between area law enforcement and district administrators to ensure the safety of our children and schools.
In January, a summit was held for educational and law enforcement professionals at the Morris County Police Safety Academy to review the Uniform State Memorandum of Agreement and to reaffirm their commitment to protection through collaboration. Community stakeholders opened up a dialogue about what is expected when it comes to school safety and security. Matters such as school drills, campus mapping, threat assessments, reporting guidelines, Juvenile Justice Reform, mental health issues, and similar safety issues were addressed. The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office conducts Vulnerability Risk Assessments upon request, which scrutinize access and general security measures at school campuses, allowing for adjustments to strengthen weaknesses.
Morris County municipal officers, school administrators, resource officers, and mental health professionals have also undergone Behavioral Threat Assessment Management training (BTAM), part of a systematic process of investigating and assessing concerning behaviors. The goal of BTAM is to evaluate the difference between making a threat and posing a threat to a school community and to then build a management plan that supports the safety of the entire community.
In the event of the unthinkable, the highly-trained Morris County Sheriff Emergency Response Team and Emergency Service Units are available to respond to a dangerous situation. The Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section also has the ability to search for victims sheltering in place and potential on site threats by scent detection, and could be deployed as a use of force measure to apprehend an active assailant.
It is critical that the public report any and all suspicious activity to law enforcement. Members of the community are asked to be alert and provide information to law enforcement so that they can investigate and mitigate potential threats. If you see something, say something. In order to report suspicious activity, the public should contact their local police department and in an emergency call 911. Non emergent tips can also be provided anonymously by calling 866-4-SAFE-NJ (1-866-472-3365) or emailing email@example.com.
Sheriff Gannon encourages parents and school students to consider installing the RSVP-3 App on their phones as a way of effectively reporting potentially violent behavior in our Morris County schools or those in crisis. The app allows users to connect with school officials, law enforcement, and mental health professionals.
To do so, simply:
- Go to the Google Play Store or Apple iTunes Store on your mobile device.
- Search for “RSVP-3 Morris County, NJ.”
- Click “Install.”
- Open the Application.
- Enter a unique four (4) digit passcode that you will remember. This is your log-in.
Citizens can also report suspicious behavior anonymously by calling or texting Morris County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-743-7433, at on the website at www.morriscrimestoppers.org.
“The most important action any citizen can take is vigilance – if you see something, say something. That means, students, parents, teachers, coaches, everyone. Intervention at the first sign of trouble yields the best results for those affected and the safety of the community at large. There are ways to bring issues to our attention without needing to walk into a police station. Help us in our mission to keep you, the citizens of Morris County, safe,” Gannon said.
“Morris County law enforcement has significant intelligence and response systems in place to assess vulnerabilities at our campuses and potentially dangerous behavior. The MCPO conducts presentations at area schools to ensure students understand the gravity of making threats of school violence. We take citizen reports very seriously, and immediately investigate any information regarding potential shooting or violence threats, especially relating to our schools. Recent incidents at a few of our schools were neutralized thanks to the vigilance of school staff and a quick response from municipal and school resource officers. Together, we can keep our schools as safe havens of learning and nurturing,” Carroll said.
“Collaboration between the public, our school districts and law enforcement at a local and county wide level is crucial. Given the few incidents in the past few months Morris County has demonstrated this and we are constantly working to strengthen it,” Johnson said.