I am writing you again to provide some information and opportunities for our community and our department in particular. First, I want to encourage every Pleasantville High School Senior to register for and take the NJ Department of Personnel Law Enforcement Entry Exam (LEE). The Civil Service Commission plans to issue the next LEE announcement on July 1, 2019, and the online application will be available July 1-August 31, 2019.
There is a minimal fee to take the test and no obligation to take any position offered to you. We have spoken candidly many times about the need for diversity in our police departments across the country and the need for more officers who come from the same neighborhoods they will be policing. The results of this test will be good for at least two years, so it is critical to us that our PHS Seniors and young people from our community do not miss this opportunity.
Next, in light of tragic events across the country, I want to talk about “active shooters” and the fear they bring to all of our workplaces, churches, and community events. The first thing I will say is that the overall risk to you and your congregations and groups is remote, so while it is critical to remain vigilant, it’s just as important that we not allow these criminals to terrorize us or dramatically change our way of life.
We know that these events leave us all with the sense that we could and should be better prepared and the Pleasantville Police Department is here to help with that. Our commanders are working with several Pleasantville churches who are seeking State grant funding for target hardening and security personnel. Mayor Tweedle has directed us to make supporting these churches through the grant process a top priority and we have done just that. If your church did not opt to seek funding this year, please reach out to us in the spring so we can get started. If your church or group would like a security survey, please let us know and we’ll work with you to get it done.
As you go to your churches, events, and workplaces, we ask that you review security procedures with staff and members and we offer these few simple suggestions that will pay big dividends if the unthinkable happens.
1. HAVE A FIRE DRILL: The fact is that all active shooter strategies are rooted in the concept of “Run, Hide, Fight” and the knowledge of exits and evacuation plans are a big step in the right direction.
2. LIMIT ACCESS: Most active shooting incidents are over in seconds or minutes. Limiting access to as few entrances as possible, especially when buildings are most likely to be at max occupancy will limit the ability of the shooter to access critical “soft spots” in your security plan. If you know where the enemy is coming from, you will be better prepared to go the other way!
3. GREET UNFAMILIAR PEOPLE: Train members of your congregation or group to speak with new people and look for behaviors that seem out of place. Generally, if you think something is suspicious, it is worth your time and ours to check into it.
4. SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING!: No one knows your congregations, sporting events, and workplaces better than you. It is critical that we all take responsibility for our own safety and report suspicious activity immediately. Our officers understand that a lot of the time, things that appear disturbing at first are just misunderstandings and we know how to handle that without embarrassing you or anyone else.
I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer and I look forward to seeing many of you at our local churches and events over the next few months. Be safe friends, we will be here when you need us.
Chief of police