Morris County Sheriff’s CrimeStoppers 34th Annual Fundraiser Draws Crowd In Support Of Proactive Crime Tip Line

The Morris County Sheriff’s CrimeStoppers 34th annual fundraiser and networking reception brought out at least 318 guests to support the anonymous tip line program that has led to nearly 500 arrests.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon addresses guests at the 34th annual Morris County Sheriff Crimestoppers fundraiser held on December 9, 2019.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon addresses guests at the 34th annual Morris County Sheriff Crimestoppers fundraiser held on December 9, 2019.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon served as host of the elegant gathering Monday, December 9, at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany that drew together law enforcement Officers from throughout Morris County, dignitaries and interested residents.

Officers in the Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach and Planning Section (COPS) – who serve as liaisons between the Sheriff and CrimeStoppers’ Board of Commissioners – organized the event.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon gives the "Leaping LEO" award to Morris Plains Police Detectives Mike Kelly and Bruce Rapp at the 34th Annual Morris County Sheriff's Crimestoppers fundraiser on Dec. 9.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon gives the “Leaping LEO” award to Morris Plains Police Detectives Mike Kelly and Bruce Rapp at the 34th Annual Morris County Sheriff’s Crimestoppers fundraiser on Dec. 9.

Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano provided information on Sheriff Gannon’s hallmark Hope One mobile substance use resource and recovery program, as Sheriff’s Office Investigator Ashley Craig did on the RSVP-3 program, which Sheriff Gannon started in 2018 in partnership with the Morris County Police Chiefs Association to curb violent incidents in schools.

Members of the Sheriff’s Office Explorers Post #140 were part of the festive occasion, opening doors for guests, answering questions and directing them to seating in a grand hall with buffet dining.

Sheriff Gannon named John R. Sette, the chairman of CrimeStoppers since its launch in 1985, an honorary Sheriff. He also presented the Morris Plains Police Department with the “Leaping LEO” award – which  carried a $1,000 check from CrimeStoppers to the Morris Plains P.B.A. – for using the program more than other municipal police departments in 2019 to help solve its crimes.

“CrimeStoppers has really been a great tool for law enforcement throughout Morris County. And I don’t know where we’d be without it, obviously,” Sheriff Gannon said. Many of the tips pertain to drug-related crimes, he added.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon names Morris County Sheriff CrimeStoppers Chairman John R. Sette the honorary Sheriff.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon names Morris County Sheriff CrimeStoppers Chairman John R. Sette the honorary Sheriff.

“CrimeStoppers has proven effective and there are many of the county’s most notable residents serving as its commissioners,” Sheriff Gannon said.

CrimeStoppers Chairman Sette established the anonymous crime tip reporting program that offers rewards in 1985 with then-Morris County Sheriff John Fox.

Since CrimeStoppers was launched, police have made 479 arrests as a result of tips.  There have been 441 cases cleared and CrimeStoppers has paid out $58,359 in rewards.

The program has achieved a total value of $444,284 in recovered property and drugs.

Sheriff Gannon commended CrimeStoppers for contributing $16,500 to creation and maintenance of the RSVP-3 app. Unveiled in October 2019, the app provides a simple, anonymous forum for students and anyone else to report threats to school safety. Chairman Sette also has been instrumental in securing an additional $7,000 in contributions to support the app.

 

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One Team Addresses Opioid Epidemic and Narcan’s Live-saving Use with County College of Morris Students

Students of a Criminal Justice System class at County College of Morris were given a candid presentation on how to use Narcan to reverse an opioid-induced overdose and how the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One program is committed to reducing substance use disorders.

From left, Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Clinician Al Shurdom, County College of Morris Professor Dr. Maureen Kazaba, CARES Peer Recovery Specialist Carrie Bailey, Morris County Sheriff's Office Corporal Erica Valvano, who manages the Sheriff's Hope One program.
From left, Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Clinician Al Shurdom, County College of Morris Professor Dr. Maureen Kazaba, CARES Peer Recovery Specialist Carrie Bailey, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano, who manages the Sheriff’s Hope One program.

At the request of CCM Criminal Justice Professor Dr. Maureen Kazaba, a Hope One team – Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Rice, Mental Health Clinician Al Shurdom and Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Carrie Bailey – on December 5 gave an overview of the award-winning Hope One program that has made nearly 10,000 contacts since its launch on April 3, 2017.

Clinician Shurdom works for the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris and Specialist Bailey works for the Rockaway-based Center for Addiction Recovery, Education & Success (CARES).  Along with Daytop-New Jersey, Prevention is Key and the Morris County Department of Human Services, CARES and the Mental Health Association are partners in Hope One with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office.

Both Specialist Bailey and Clinician Shurdom were forthright in telling the students how they struggled to manage their respective disorders and find strength in helping others overcome what can be viewed by many as an impossible hurdle. Clinician Shurdom said shame, fear, machismo and false bravado are all common feelings that can block a person from seeking help.

CARES Peer Recovery Specialist Carrie Bailey walks CCM students through the steps of using Narcan to revive a person overdosing on opioids.
CARES Peer Recovery Specialist Carrie Bailey walks CCM students through the steps of using Narcan to revive a person overdosing on opioids.

While Corporal Valvano manages the Hope One mobile substance use resource and recovery program as a plainclothes Sheriff’s Officer, Specialist Bailey provides Narcan training and Clinician Shurdom helps people struggling with mental health disorders navigate services.

“I’m a living, breathing example of ‘there is hope on the other side,’” Clinician Shurdom said. “Ask for help.  It’s the opposite of weakness.”

Before instructing students on how to administer Narcan to an overdosing individual through a nostril, Specialist Bailey detailed the signs of an overdose and simple steps to take: Call 911, give several rescue breaths to the individual, then administer the nasal spray.

Always alert medical professionals, she said, because the Narcan dose will wear off in a half-hour to 45 minutes and opioids can reattach to the brain, triggering another overdose.  Under New Jersey’s Overdose Prevention Act, witnesses and victims are protected from arrest, she said.

In stark terms, Specialist Bailey described how individuals revived from an overdose can turn combative since they spent money on opiates and wanted to enjoy a high while indifferent to the risk of overdose.

The students were provided with free Narcan kits from CARES, which contain one, 4 milligram dose of Naloxone (Narcan), and a plastic mouth shield for use in rescue breathing. Even if the students don’t personally know anyone with an opioid addiction, the kits are invaluable for use on anyone overdosing, including in public restrooms, Specialist Bailey said.

Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Clinician Al Shurdom urges CCM students to seek help if they are depressed or believe they have another mental health disorder.
Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris Clinician Al Shurdom urges CCM students to seek help if they are depressed or believe they have another mental health disorder.

Coincidentally, the latest publication of the CCM student newspaper, The Youngtown Edition, contains a student-written story about how a relative is snared in a trap of heroin addiction.

Corporal Valvano gave students an overview of how Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon creatively forged partnerships with non-profit organizations and used $15,000 in drug forfeiture money to turn a defunct Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) van to the Hope One mobile program.

As of December 5, Hope One teams have made 370 stops, mostly in areas where overdoses are documented as occurring and where homeless and at-risk individuals are known to congregate. But Hope One frequently also is present at large events, festivals, and in shopping districts that draw people of all backgrounds.

Among other services, Hope One teams have trained 2,135 people in Narcan administration, assisted 155 people into recovery or rehab programs, and guided another 121 people to mental health services.

Corporal Valvano stressed to students that Hope One’s approach is non-aggressive and non-judgmental.  Coffee, snacks and toiletries are offered to people who approach the distinctive white and purple van. Conversations start, and some visitors leave while others stay, for Narcan training or to talk about a relative or someone they know who is battling a substance use disorder.

“It’s about building rapport,” Corporal Valvano said.

 

 

Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detective Corporal Honored For Outstanding Performance

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon applauded K-9 Section Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his K-9 partner Kaiser for apprehending an armed robbery suspect and achieving high marks in a national canine competition.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Sheriff's Office Detective Corporal Mike McMahon and K-9 Kaiser.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Mike McMahon and K-9 Kaiser.

Detective Corporal McMahon was belatedly honored because he was not able to attend the Sheriff’s Office’s annual Medal Day on November 15, where Officers and non-sworn staff were recognized for outstanding achievements in the past year.

So on Tuesday, December 3, in the presence of command staff and fellow Officers in the K-9 Section, Sheriff Gannon gave Detective Corporal McMahon plaques and medals for Exceptional Duty and Honorable Service and commended him for his notable deeds.

“We’re very, very blessed to have you in a leadership role,” Sheriff Gannon told Detective Corporal McMahon.

“My hat’s off to the entire K-9 Section. It’s one of our best programs in the Agency. I always think that besides the selection of the people in the section and besides the leadership, the manner in which you blend with the local police departments is very commendable,” Sheriff Gannon said.

On left, Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Michael McMahon, K-9 Kaiser, and fellow Sheriff's Officers, including members of the K-9 Section.
On left, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon, K-9 Kaiser, and fellow Sheriff’s Officers, including members of the K-9 Section.

Detective Corporal McMahon received an Agency Honorable Service Medal for his actions on November 7, 2018. That night, he and K-9 Kaiser responded to a reported armed robbery in Boonton Township in which a handgun was shown.

While searching the area for suspects with his dog, Detective Corporal McMahon learned that one suspect had just knocked on a resident’s door and requested to use their phone.  Two suspects were taken into custody and provided information about a third suspect, who allegedly carried a handgun.

Without regard for his personal safety, Detective Corporal McMahon used K-9 Kaiser in an off-leash search before expanding the search area so that it extended to a wood line and the Rockaway River.  The dog, a 3-year-old male Belgian Malinois, located and apprehended the third suspect who was hiding in heavy brush.

Detective Corporal McMahon and other Officers then took the suspect into custody and searched for the weapon, ultimately using Kaiser to perform an off-leash evidence search of the area. The loaded 9mm handgun was found, wrapped in a sweatshirt and hidden behind a vehicle by the wood line.

He also accepted a second medal and plaque for Exceptional Duty related to his participation on March 15, 2019 in the United States Police Canine Association Narcotics Detection Trial/Certification in Region 7.  The trial featured 18 K-9 teams from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Upon completion, he and K-9 Kaiser were awarded third place for fastest time, first place for motor vehicle work, and second place overall – a ranking that brought honor to himself and the Sheriff’s Office.

Detective Corporal McMahon’s prowess as a master K-9 trainer and handler can be seen when he makes his television debut as a contestant on the A&E Network’s ultimate K-9 competition series called “America’s Top Dog.”

He is a contestant in a high-energy competition that brought together superb K-9 Officers and dogs on what is billed as the ultimate K-9 obstacle course.  The “America’s Top Dog” series, from MGM’s Big Fish Entertainment, will premiere Wednesday, January 8 at 9 p.m. ET.  Viewers will not find out until the final, 11th episode which team captured Top Dog honors.