Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeLetters to the editorLetter to the Editor: Urgent Questions Arise on Parsippany's Active Shooter Preparedness

Letter to the Editor: Urgent Questions Arise on Parsippany’s Active Shooter Preparedness

Dear Editor:

In 2023 there were more than 630 mass shooting events across the United States with an average of more than two mass shooting events a day. After many, if not most of those tragedies, residents said that they never thought that such a horrible event would happen in their hometown and they wondered if their elected officials and police departments had done all that they could have done to prevent and prepare for an “active shooter” event.

Recently, the Department of Justice released its Critical Incident Review of the Response to the Mass Shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde Texas in which 19 children and 2 teachers died. The Review identifies generally accepted practices for effective law enforcement responses and should be required reading for all elected officials and police department leaders.

With that said, Parsippany residents (and the thousands of out-of-town people who work in Parsippany daily) must know if both Parsippany Police Director and Mayor James Barberio and Parsippany Police Chief Richard Pantina have read the Critical Incident Review and what if any, conclusions they have drawn about  Parsippany’s preparedness to respond to an “active shooter” event.

Among the multitude of questions the Police Director/Mayor and Police Chief need to address are the following:

How frequently are police officers provided with “active shooter” training and is the training delivered by listening to lectures via passive online training or by conducting active tactical drills?

How many hours of rifle training is required at the range and does that rifle course include simulating how to neutralize a shooter while on the move towards that shooter?

Have officers been trained on supervisory responses if they arrive at the scene before superior officers arrive so that no time is lost directing the required response to an active shooter?   

Does the Parsippany Police Department have the required number of rifles and protective ballistic equipment it needs to ensure the safety of its officers?  

Are the Police Department’s radios up to date and are police officers trained on how to merge radio channels between responding law enforcement agencies to ensure effective communication? 

Last summer at a Council meeting and in subsequent follow-up communications, Mayor/Police Director Barberio and Police Chief Pantina were provided with information about cost-free training provided by the United States Secret Service (National Threat Assessment Center), FBI, and other federal agencies. What was the result of their outreach to those resources?

Which of these is Parsippany’s current active shooter command and control response strategy and have Parsippany police officers been trained and equipped to implement the strategy: (1) Individual officers rapidly respond to an event and then wait for 3-5 other officers to form a team before engaging the shooter (2) A team of police officers respond, set up a periphery and then wait for SWAT to arrive and engage the shooter (3) First arriving officers immediately advance and engage the shooter.

I am writing this letter at this time because, over the next number of weeks, the Mayor and Council (led by retired Police Officer Paul Carifi) will be finalizing Parsippany’s budget. During that review and approval process, Mayor Barberio and the Council will be responsible for determining if the Parsippany Police Department has sufficient funds to fulfill all of its responsibilities including its response to a potential “active shooter” event. Failure on the Mayor’s and Council’s part to do so would be unforgivable

Bob Crawford

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Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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