Homeland Security’s School Security Assessment Training
Through an ongoing effort to secure Morris County’s schools following a spike in mass casualty incidents, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Homeland Security Unit provided School Security Assessment Training 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 course, taught by Risk Mitigation Planners of Morris and surrounding counties, 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.
The School Security Assessment Training is designed to guide law enforcement in conducting school security assessments in schools within their jurisdiction.
Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll stated: “there is no more important security assignment than the 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 the 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 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.
This year’s classes were instructed by 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.
Hundreds of officers have been trained in School Security Assessment over the past ten years. Will it help keep our children safe?