Addiction and Mental Health Resources Available Despite Closures and Social Distancing Mandates Due To COVID-19

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Hope One mobile addiction resource and recovery program has temporarily suspended community stops due to the Coronavirus outbreak but telephone assistance for individuals struggling with substance use and mental health disorders remains available through Hope One’s partner agencies.

Addiction and Mental Health Resources Available Despite Closures and Social Distancing Mandates Due To COVID-19

Health risks and social distancing mandates due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to Hope One canceling community stops for at least the next two weeks. People in need of recovery programs and services related to mental health and substance abuse disorders can reach out to the following agencies:

— The Center for Addiction Recovery, Education & Success (CARES) has a 24-hour number, 973-625-1143, that can be reached for information about addiction services, recovery support and Narcan kits.

— The Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris can be reached at 973-334-3496.

— The Mental Health Association operates a peer-to-peer support line at 1-877-760-4987 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

— Call 2-1-1 for housing assistance.

— Reach the Hope One Coordinator at 973-590-0300.





Morris County Sheriff’s Officer And K-9 Partner Win Top Honors In ‘America’s Top Dog’ Series

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his K-9 partner Kai outshined six of the nation’s most daunting K-9 teams to capture a $25,000 grand prize and the distinction of being “America’s Top Dog.”

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and K-9 Partner Kai on 'America's Top Dog.'
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and K-9 Partner Kai on ‘America’s Top Dog.’

A master dog trainer and handler who was hired at the Sheriff’s Office in 2011, Detective Corporal McMahon and his 4-year-old Belgian Malinois partner were the stars of the pre-recorded season finale of the A&E Network’s “America’s Top Dog,” that aired Wednesday, March 18.

Detective Corporal McMahon and Kai — known as #teamkai — aced the eighth episode of the popular series that aired on February 26. On Wednesday, #teamkai won three strenuous obstacle course and maze challenges to emerge as the champion.

Drawn into the Winner’s Circle by “America’s Top Dog” sideline reporter Jamie Little, Corporal McMahon said: “I have the best job in the world. It was an awesome experience getting to know everyone.”

“Unstoppable,” is the word that “America’s Top Dog” co-host Nick White used to describe K-9 Kai at one point in the finale.

Reflecting on the thrilling experience, Detective Corporal McMahon later said:

“From start to finish this has been a great experience for Kai and I. We are honored to have shared this experience with so many great teams! It is still early in our career together and we look forward to many more successful years as a team serving the people of Morris County.”

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and K-9 partner Kai. (Photo by Ian Spitzer)
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and K-9 partner Kai. (Photo by Ian Spitzer)

Detective Corporal McMahon said: “I’d just like to say thank you to my wife, Michelle, and our children, for all of their support. The hours of hard work that we have put in together and all of the sacrifices we’ve made continue to shine through.”

“Thank you to Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, Undersheriff Mark Spitzer, Chief Kelley Zienowicz, and Chief Warrant Officer Richard Rose for affording me the opportunity to represent our office and the K9 community,” he said.

Corporal McMahon continued: “And last but definitely not least, thank you to all of the members of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section and our in-service training group for all of their hard work and dedication to our craft. It takes a strong partnership to create K9 teams that perform at a high level and without all of them, this would not have been possible. This is a win for all of us,” Corporal McMahon said.

Sheriff Gannon was jubilant about #teamkai’s success and its correlation to outstanding service to Morris County.

“I’m so proud of Detective Corporal McMahon and K-9 Kai for being designated America’s Top Dog (and Handler). This is the level of service expected and delivered on a daily basis to the people of Morris County.”

Corporal McMahon was selected to be a contestant on “America’s Top Dog,” which is produced by Big Fish Entertainment, in the spring of 2019.  He and his family, including Kai, whom he raised as a puppy into a K-9 patrol dog, boarded a flight for Santa Clarita, California, where the series was filmed.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and K-9 Kai at a demonstration in 2019.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and K-9 Kai at a demonstration in 2019.

The series that started airing on January 8 brought together 50 K-9 teams from across the country to prove their skills on a massive obstacle course that involved jumping walls, climbing up boxes and over barrels, tracking down elusive scented objects, scrambling across a shaky rope bridge, apprehending a suspect, and swimming across a 46-foot-long pool.

The seven best teams competed in Wednesday’s season finale during which two teams were eliminated in both the first and second rounds. By the third and final round, #teamkai was pitted against Alpharetta, Georgia Police Sergeant Mark Tappan and K-9 Mattis, and another team.

Corporal McMahon and Kai, in the final round, outpaced Team Mattis by nearly 9 seconds to capture the championship.

Round One, called the K-9 Combine, required dogs to dash in and over vehicles, run up a ramp, and cross a wobbly wood-planked bridge suspended by ropes and designed to test the dog’s confidence on shaky surfaces. To motivate K-9 Kai to complete the last challenge of the Combine – swimming across a 46-foot pool to the finish line – Corporal McMahon threw a ball in the water that Kai eagerly grabbed.

#Teamkai won Round One in 1:10.71 minutes, 19 seconds faster than the runner-up K-9 team.

Round Two was a test of odor-detecting abilities, with canines and handlers required to dash through a maze of rooms and find four scented items within four minutes.  Again, Corporal McMahon and Kai came out on top.

By Round Three, called The Doghouse, only three teams remained to prove the dexterity, courage, obedience, intuitiveness and fitness of their K-9 partners, as quickly as they could.

It took K-9 Kai — with Corporal McMahon either running beside him or performing the same feats – less than two minutes to pass through a tangled spider web, cross a narrow plank like a gymnast, run through duct work and down a flight of stairs.

K-9 Kai’s last task was to apprehend a “suspect,” whom he obediently released upon Corporal McMahon’s command before stepping up with him to the Winner’s Circle.



Morris County Sheriff’s Office Implements Smart, Sensible Precautions Against COVID 19 At Correctional Facility And Courthouse

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the County Correctional Facility and provides security for Superior Court and the County Administration and Records Building in Morristown, continues to upgrade multiple procedures to safeguard against possible transmission of the COVID 19 infection, also known as the Novel Coronavirus.

Morris County Sheriff's Officers prepare personal protection gear for fellow Officers to use during the outbreak of COVID 19.
Morris County Sheriff’s Officers prepare personal protection gear for fellow Officers to use during the outbreak of COVID 19.

“The Sheriff’s Office has been working exhaustively on management of this evolving health care crisis with the New Jersey Judiciary, Morris County Administrator John Bonanni and other county leaders to ensure that the public and employees are protected to the best of our abilities from COVID 19,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.

Between Monday, March 16, and Friday, March 20, Superior Court in Morristown is closed for all in-person matters with the public, except for emergent matters. Please log on to for detailed information and updates.

For the immediate future, while the buildings remain open, Morris County Sheriff’s Officers will continue to man metal detectors in both the Front Entrance Lobby to the Morris County Courthouse and the Administration and Records Building Lobby and direct the public to accessible services.

Sheriff’s Officers also assembled personal protection kits containing gloves, particulate respirator masks and sanitizing wipes for distribution to all Officers, though some Officers would typically carry the gear based upon their assignments.

Morris County Courthouse in Morristown.
Morris County Courthouse in Morristown.

Bureau of Law Enforcement Undersheriff Mark Spitzer, Chief Kelley Zienowicz and Chief Warrant Officer Richard A. Rose are in constant communication with Morris County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Jeffrey Paul and Morris County Police Chiefs Association President Thomas Williver. The Sheriff’s Office will remain available to supplement individual Police Agencies should they become overburdened. In a mutual aid model, other Police Agencies have offered similar support to the Sheriff’s Office.

At the Morris County Correctional Facility, Undersheriff Alan J. Robinson, Warden Christopher Klein and Captain Anthony Lotz also maintain constant communication with OEM Director Paul.

Undersheriff Robinson and Warden Klein have strengthened existing comprehensive protocols to shield inmates, sworn and non-sworn staff. As of Monday, none of the 241 inmates have the Coronavirus. The procedures, though not all-inclusive, provide:

  • As of Monday, inmate visits with family members are temporarily suspended and will be reevaluated on March 30.
  • An extensive cleaning schedule that enhances ordinary rigorous sanitation of the facility. It includes disinfection of all areas within all housing units every other day; daily disinfection of all generally-touched surfaces; daily disinfection and deep cleaning of the Medical Unit; availability of hand sanitizer to staff and permitted visitors.
  • Inmates are permitted non-contact attorney visits through glass partitions. Other professional visitors will be vetted through a security captain and if approved, will be allowed a non-contact visit with an inmate through the glass partition.
  • The Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP) has been canceled for the immediate future.
  • The Correctional Facility’s Main Entrance Officer shall ask all professional visitors and lawyers whether they have traveled to China or other COVID 19 outbreak areas within the past 14 days, whether they have had close contact with a person under investigation for the infection, and whether they have symptoms of the virus.
  • Continuing a protocol started on March 5, the healthcare provider conducting Nurse’s Screening for all new admission inmates will ask the same travel and symptom questions presented to lawyers and professional visitors. If an inmate responds yes to any question, the healthcare provider shall notify custody staff to place the inmate in a cell by him or herself and call the Facility Physician to determine the next steps.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Law Enforcement, through Chief Zienowicz, also has implemented a detailed plan to manage staff assignments while reducing large working group environments. The Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees protection of the courthouse, Administration & Records Building and Probation Services in Dover, Warrants and Legal Services, and Special Services that include K-9, Evidence, Bomb Squad, Community Outreach and Planning, and the Crime Scene Investigation Unit.

Based upon their assignments, sworn Officers and non-sworn staff will either work split shifts, modified shifts, remotely if applicable, or in altered work groups.