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Morris Plains Police Department

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Press Release

The following taken from the Office of the Morris County Prosecutor at

Plans unveiled to bolster school security
The Morris County Prosecutor's Office unveiled the second phase of a county-wide project today to bolster security on campuses throughout the county.

Captain Jeffrey Paul; Dr. Kathleen Serrafino; Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi, Esq; Alfonse Imperiale; First Assistant Prosecutor Tom Zelante, Esq
The reason: The potential for school violence, the prosecutor and members of his office told a crowd of 200 police officers and school administrative officials at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy.

From aerial photographs and the workings of security systems to the cell phone number of the night custodian, the prosecutor's office is compiling information to better prepare police, educators and all other emergency workers for a number of emergencies such as an armed intruder, active shooter, kidnapper and others.

Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi, Esq., said his office is doing all it can to equip school officials and law enforcement with the know-how necessary in a crisis.

"We have made the protection of our children the highest priority," Bianchi said. "Morris County should be proud that this planning is unique and is becoming the model for other counties throughout the state."

First Assistant Prosecutor Tom Zelante, Captain Jeff Paul, Alfonse Imperiale, the county's risk mitigation planner, Sgt. Robert McDermott -- all from the county prosecutor's office; Kinnelon police Chief John Finkle, who heads the county police chiefs association, and local police chiefs worked on the project for several months.

School building floor plans, doorways, gas pipes and a multitude of photographs and information fill the 1/4-inch-thick document.

Phase one presented to law enforcement and educators earlier this year, focused on explaining how law enforcement functions during an emergency. The second and third phases focus on the practical nuts-and-bolts gathering of information and instruction on how to actually handle an unfolding crisis.

"Whether it's an active shooter, a chemical spill or a natural disaster, we are making sure we are ready. This is hazard planning for the schools," Finkle said.

"It's not a question of when it will happen, but rather where it will happen," Captain Jeff Paul added.

Morris School District Superintendent Thomas Ficarra said educators are welcoming this initiative. "The prosecutor is upping the level of cooperation and communication and that's important. A crisis is no time to be bumping around for information."

Bianchi, during the seminars, especially thanked Morris County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Serrafino, who was instrumental for bringing the school districts and law enforcement community together.

"The added benefit to this extraordinary worth-while program are the relationships and the communication developing between the law enforcement and education communities," Bianchi said.

"After this project, we have already agreed to continuing this partnership in addressing drugs, gangs, bullying, cybercrime and other areas of concern that affect the well being of our children," Bianchi said.

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