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Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon Offers Tips For Riders During National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Motorcycle riding has its joys and hazards, which is why the month of May was designated National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.

Morris County Sheriff's Officer on a motorcycle
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Dave Kenny practices his motorcycle driving skills with fellow officers in Florham Park during National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office – which has four Sheriff’s Officers certified to ride police motorcycles and two more in training – wants all passenger vehicle motorists and motorcyclists to stay safe year-round and recognize that both have equal rights to be on the roads.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office has two motorcycles – 2018 Harley Davidson Road Kings – that are shared by Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Law Enforcement Detective Corporal Dave Kenny and Corporal Brian Ahern, and Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections Corporal Pete Lohmus and Sergeant Bob Doriety, all of whom are certified to ride motorcycles as law enforcement officers.

Police officers on motorcycles
From left, Florham Park Police Officer Charlie Greenstein, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Dave Kenny and Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections Sergeant Bob Doriety on their motorcycles during National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Bureau of Corrections Officer Michael Locke and Bureau of Law Enforcement Corporal Ryan Warnett currently are in training to achieve certification. The Sheriff’s Office’s Motorcycle Unit is part-time, with its officers conducting escorts, property security checks, and assisting with crowd control at large events.

On May 17, Detective Corporal Kenny, Corporal Warnett, Sergeant Doriety and Officer Locke joined Florham Park Police Officer Charlie Greenstein at a borough parking lot to practice tight maneuvers and quick turnarounds on their motorcycles in a coned obstacle course. Among the goals were making tight turns without dropping the motorcycle or toppling the cones, and slowing down without stalling the engine.

Once certification is achieved, Corporal Kenny said, officers in the motorcycle unit must put in at least 16 hours of additional training annually.

Morris County Corrections Officer on a motorcycle
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections Officer Michael Locke practicing his motorcycle skills during National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Motorcyclists can be vulnerable on the roads because they don’t have the protection of a car’s steel tonnage. Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon is recommending some safety tips for both passenger vehicles and motorcycles, based upon advisories by the National Safety Council, National Highway Safety Administration and Cycle World:

  • Motorcyclists must decrease speed in rainy weather, particularly when approaching intersections, as braking time is increased on slick roads
  • Passenger vehicles and motorcyclists should never share the same travel lane. A motorcycle is entitled to the same lane width as a passenger vehicle
  • Motorcyclists must be mindful that oils in pavement surface in the rain and may cause hydroplaning
  • Motorcyclists should wear anti-fog visors, breath guards or visors with an electric defroster function
  • Motorcyclists must use turn signals for every turn or lane change, the same as a passenger vehicle
  • Passenger car motorists must allow greater following distance behind a motorcycle
  • Drivers must be extra cautious at intersections. Crashes occur when drivers fail to see motorcyclists and turn left in front of them
  • Motorcyclists should position their cycles to avoid driver’s blind spots
  • Like passenger vehicle drivers, motorcyclists must not run yellow lights.

 

 

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon: Jury Service Is A Privilege To Me

As Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, I know every judge, courtroom, corridor, nook and cranny of the Morris County Courthouse.

Morris County Sheriff went to jury duty
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon at his desk at the Morris County Courthouse

But until recently, I had lived and worked my entire adult life in law enforcement without ever being called for jury service – one of the Constitutional foundations of our country.

On my designated day to report to Superior Court in Morristown as prospective Petit Juror No. 170, I sat in the spacious jury assembly room with about 120 others who were summoned for the same day and got acquainted with some of the prospective jurors sitting near me.

Then my juror number was randomly selected to report to a courtroom where jurors were needed for a civil trial on a lawsuit.

Again, I was randomly selected to leave the courtroom gallery and sit in the jury box to face “voir dire” by opposing trial attorneys. An Anglo-Norman term that predates modern French, “voir dire” means “speak the truth.” It is the term for the preliminary questioning of jurors to determine their suitability to serve on a jury.

I hadn’t flinched nor viewed my jury summons as a burden or inconvenience. I didn’t cast myself as indispensable or too busy. The reality is, I was intrigued by the opportunity to be part of a jury, part of an eternal history of juries that our forefathers believed was an essential part of the justice system.

Jury duty with Sheriff Gannon
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon’s juror bar code

But I wasn’t sworn in as a jury for the civil trial. A lawyer used one of his peremptory challenges and didn’t need a reason to excuse me from sitting.

I have saved my jury instructions, which include a prohibition against using social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter during jury service, along with an admonition that “All information obtained during your service is strictly confidential.”  I honor those rules: People have the right to their day – or trial – in court, without outside influences.

Nearly four decades before the now-historic Morris County Courthouse was built in 1827, the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1791 as part of the Bill of Rights and mandated that a person charged with a serious crime shall have a trial before a jury of his peers.

The New Jersey Supreme Court has broadly construed that the right to a trial by jury also extends to many civil cases.

Aside from jury service being a venerable duty, it’s a fascinating opportunity to see the justice system at work, close-up, and reach a meeting of the minds with other jurors if the case reaches the deliberation phase.

As a former detective and Deputy Chief of Investigations for the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, I served as a trial witness on major crime prosecutions and was always grateful for the dedication and thought jurors put into deliberations that resulted in verdicts.

Now, as the 77th Sheriff of Morris County, I’m proud to be responsible for security at the Morris County courthouse and ensure that all courtrooms and corridors are safe at all times. Even as the Sheriff, I’m not exempt from being summoned for jury service, and I’m grateful to our nation’s founding fathers for embedding this protection into our Constitution.

Please, view a summons to jury duty as a reminder that you are essential, not a cog in the machinery of the legal system.

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Salutes All Police Officers and Those Who Have Died, During National Police Week

During National Police Week, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office salutes and cherishes the memories of 30 law enforcement officers from Morris County or serving Morris County when they died in the line of duty in the last century.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Salutes All Police Officers and Those Who Have Died, During National Police Week

The names of the 30 officers are among those of 43 police officers, firefighters and rescue specialists who lost their lives, while on-duty, since 1918. Their names are memorialized on the 200 Club of Morris County monument located at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy.

Those who served are not forgotten:

Patrick Guiton, died 1918, Boonton Police Department;

Fred W. Plumstead, died 1929; Roxbury Police Department;

Joseph Vorholz, died 1929; Morristown Police Department;

Thomas E. DeShazo, died 1930, Dover Police Department;

Peter W. Ignatz, died 1931, New Jersey State Police;

Carl A. Schlotz, died 1936, Morristown Police Department;

Matthew M. McManus, died 1938, New Jersey State Police;

Stanley A. Conn Jr., died 1951, New Jersey State Police;

Ronald E. Gray, died 1958, New Jersey State Police;

John A. Dolan, died 1966, Passaic Township Police Department;

Carl W. Schaufelberger, died 1967, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office;

Gordon N. Smith, died 1975, Boonton Police Department;

Frank A. Dailey, Jr., died 1975, Florham Park Police Department;

Robert Hauptman, died 1975, Florham Park Police Department;

Wilson McLaurin, died 1975, New Jersey Department of Human Services;

Raymond Gelormini, died 1977, Chatham Township Police Department;

John Miller, died 1979, East Hanover Police Department;

Philip J. Lamonaco, died 1981, New Jersey State Police;

Lester A. Pagano, died 1983, New Jersey State Police;

Everett E. Hatcher, died 1989, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration;

John Deventer, died 1995, Hanover Police Department;

Scott M. Gonzales, died 1997, New Jersey State Police;

Richard Weinheimer, died 1998, Pequannock Police Department;

Enrico Venditte, died 2001, Paterson Police Department;

Liam Callahan, died 2001, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department;

Gregg J. Froehner, died 2001, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department;

Anthony P. Infante, Jr., died 2001, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department;

Arthur J. Ohlsen, III, died 2003, Dover Police Department;

Eugene M. Erdmann, died 2005, Kinnelon Police Department;

Joseph Wargo, died 2011, Mt. Arlington Police Department