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Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon Offers Back-To-School Safety Tips For Students and Motorists

As of Monday, August 26, classes will resume for school-age children in some parts of Morris County and for thousands of others, school doors will open right after Labor Day.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon Offers Back-To-School Safety Tips For Students and Motorists

“School should be an exhilarating and joyful time for kids, their teachers and parents. It can stay that way if motorists slow down, patiently share the roads with buses, yield to pedestrians in crosswalks, and stay alert for exuberant kids darting into roadways,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon

The National Safety Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommend multiple back-to-school safety precautions:

  • Children who walk to school should use a sidewalk whenever possible, or walk on the edge of the street facing traffic if there is no sidewalk. Before school starts, parents should practice the walk with their child;
  • Children under the age of 10 should be walked to school by an adult or other responsible person;
  • Always use marked crosswalks to cross the street where they are available, and look left-right-left for vehicles or bicycles before crossing;
  • Watch the road when walking, not your cell phone;
  • Never play, push or shove others while walking around traffic;
  • Children who bike to school should wear a helmet;
  • Bicycle in the same direction as traffic and follow traffic signs and signals, and stay in a bike lane when possible;
  • Don’t use electronics while riding;
  • Children who ride a school bus should always wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver says it’s OK to board;
  • Face forward after finding a seat on the bus and obey directions issued by the bus driver;
  • Exit the bus when it stops and always look left-right-left for cars before crossing a street;
  • Never chase after a school bus if you’ve missed it;
  • Motorists who drop their children off at school must follow specific drop-off procedures. Don’t double-park, it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles;
  • Don’t load or unload children across the street from the school;
  • Motorists should allow a greater following distance when driving behind a bus, and never pass a bus from behind if it stopped to load or unload children;
  • Since the area 10 feet around a school bus is the most dangerous for children, stop far enough back to allow children enough space to safely enter and exit the bus;
  • Motorists must always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign;
  • Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hosts “Criminal Justice Day” For Team Eagle Foundation Youth Leadership Group

Youth participants in the Leadership Excellence Direct Results (LEDR) program received an enlightening overview of how the Morris County Sheriff’s Office protects the Morris County Courthouse, manages the Correctional Facility, and provides specialized K-9, Bomb Squad and Crime Scene Investigation Services to the county’s 39 municipalities.

Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 Section Detective Sergeant Aaron Tomasini demonstrates the skills of K-9 Sigmund to participants of a leadership program run by the Team Eagle Foundation and Boy Scouts of America Patriots' Path Council.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detective Sergeant Aaron Tomasini demonstrates the skills of K-9 Sigmund to participants of a leadership program run by the Team Eagle Foundation and Boy Scouts of America Patriots’ Path Council.

The Sheriff’s Office – along with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and Office of Emergency Management – co-hosted Criminal Justice Day on Wednesday, August 14, for 28 participants of LEDR, a program of the non-profit Team Eagle Foundation that is partnered with the Boy Scouts of America, Patriots’ Path Council.

LEDR is a week-long retreat program that gives students, ages 15 to 20, the chance to explore leadership skills, connect with peers, explore careers, and learn how to engage with their communities.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon welcomes participants of a leadership program run by Team Eagle Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America Patriots' Path Council to the Morris County Correctional Facility.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon welcomes participants of a leadership program run by Team Eagle Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America Patriots’ Path Council to the Morris County Correctional Facility.

Criminal Justice Day for the LEDR group started at the 524-bed Morris County Correctional Facility in Morris Township. There, participants met Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and Bureau of Corrections Undersheriff Alan J. Robinson, and were guided on a tour of the 19-year-old facility by Bureau of Corrections Sergeant Andrew Bileci and Officer Brian Rzucidlo.

Sheriff Gannon welcomed the group with a summary of the office that encompassed its historic, 1700’s origins, its array of special services, and its Correctional Facility programmatic approach to helping inmates improve and reshape their lives so they don’t return to incarceration.

The jail’s Hope Wing, for example, assists individuals with fighting their substance use addictions, teaches 84 coping skills, anger management and repairing familial relationships, among other topics.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Corporal Phil Mangiafridda explains his job in the Crime Scene Investigation Unit to youth members of a leadership group run by Team Eagle Foundation in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America Patriots' Path Council.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Phil Mangiafridda explains his job in the Crime Scene Investigation Unit to youth members of a leadership group run by Team Eagle Foundation in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America Patriots’ Path Council.

“Unless we’re part of the solution we’re part of the problem,” Sheriff Gannon told the group.

“We want to knock recidivism down.  We don’t want people coming back here. We don’t want repeat customers,” he said.

“We will do everything in our power to return people to being productive members of society and keeping people alive,” the Sheriff said.

Members of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office also gave an overview of their positions while gathered at the Correctional Facility before the LEDR group traveled to the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy for the afternoon.

At the Academy, LEDR participants met K-9 Sigmund and K-9 Handler, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sergeant Aaron Tomasini, Bomb Squad Detective Sergeant Doug Meyer, Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Detective Corporal Phil Mangiafridda, Sheriff’s Office Motor Squad Detective Corporal Dave Kenny and Corporal Pete Lohmus, and Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) Corporals Jamie Rae and Matt Cilurso.

Morris County Office of Emergency Management Director Jeffrey Paul and OEM Assistant Erika Hauser gave the LEDR group hands-on explanations of their equipment and vehicles, including an imposing mobile ambulance that is used to treat multiple victims of incidences and transport them to hospitals.

 

 

 

 

Town of Dover Police Department Joins Morris County Sheriff’s Office and Nine Morris County Law Enforcement Agencies in Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI)

The town of Dover Police Department is now the 11th law enforcement agency in Morris County to participate in the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI), which allows police officers to take direct action to help individuals struggling with addiction connect with recovery services.

From left, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Dover Mayor James Dodd and Dover Mayor Anthony Smith on August 13, 2019, when the town of Dover passed a resolution to participate in the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI)
From left, Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Dover Mayor James Dodd and Dover Mayor Anthony Smith on August 13, 2019, when the town of Dover passed a resolution to participate in the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI)

Dover Mayor James Dodd and the town Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, August 13, passed a necessary resolution that enables town police officers to participate in PAARI, which Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon first launched in the county on April 3, 2019, as an expansion of his signature Hope One mobile substance use outreach and recovery program.

Under PAARI, individuals who voluntarily walk into a participating police department in Morris County can request help for a substance use addiction, without fear of being arrested. A trained police officer screens the individual and then contacts Daytop New Jersey, a Mendham-based drug and alcohol treatment facility, with a request for a certified peer recovery specialist to immediately meet with the individual to discuss resource, treatment and recovery options.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon addresses the town of Dover mayor and board of aldermen on August 13, 2019, about efforts by his office and partner agencies to combat opioid addiction.
Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon addresses the town of Dover mayor and board of aldermen on August 13, 2019, about efforts by his office and partner agencies to combat opioid addiction.

Before the enabling resolution was passed, Sheriff Gannon gave Mayor Dodd and the Aldermen an overview of Hope One and PAARI, and how a $332,658 grant from the United States Department of Justice has allowed the Sheriff’s Office to expand Hope One with the PAARI program component.

“We focus on people without support and on areas where people are vulnerable,” Sheriff Gannon said of Hope One at the Board of Aldermen meeting.  Since Hope One started on April 3, 2017, its team – a plainclothes Sheriff’s Officer, a mental health clinician and a certified peer recovery specialist – have made 8,000 contacts and assisted 250 people with accessing substance use recovery and rehabilitation programs or mental health treatment.

The Hope One team also has, free of charge, trained 1,866 people in how to administer Narcan to reverse an opioid-induced overdose. Participation in PAARI, the Sheriff said, will enable police to have a direct role in helping individuals find their way to lives without drug dependency.

“It’s an exciting time for all of us.  It’s forward-thinking. It’s forward thinking that Dover is the 11th municipality to pass a resolution for this,” Sheriff Gannon said.

Dover Police Chief Anthony Smith at the August 13, 2019 meeting of the Dover mayor and board of aldermen
Dover Police Chief Anthony Smith at the August 13, 2019 meeting of the Dover mayor and board of aldermen

Mayor Dodd commended Sheriff Gannon for launching Hope One and said he has seen, firsthand, the positive impact on the community when Hope One makes a stop at Faith Kitchen, a soup kitchen located inside Trinity Lutheran Church.

“I know you’re a role model for other counties around the state so I publicly thank you,” Mayor Dodd said.

Hope One has served as the model for mobile substance use recovery vehicles in the city of Newark, Cape May, Monmouth and Atlantic counties, and Burlington and Hudson counties are in the process of developing their own mobile programs.

Dover Police Chief Anthony Smith said residents sometimes ask him why police use Narcan to revive individuals from heroin overdoses. He said he responds that he would want one of his own children or a loved one revived from an overdose, the same as any other person would.

“This is a direction we want to move in.  We want to create these partnerships with the Sheriff, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, Hope One, CARES, and Daytop,” Chief Smith said.