MILLBURN, NJ - As society advances with Ipads, fast cars, 3-d movies, and countless other technological inventions, people in this country will still never forget the tragedy that took place on September 11, 2001. As time moves on, wounds may slowly heal, but people will always remember.
Police departments in the tri-state area have changed what they do since the attacks. Millburn Police Captain Michael Palardy Jr. said while although the fear of terrorism has increased since 9/11, the department does its best to appease residents and make them feel safe. He said the biggest changes have been to airports, but the police have had to make adjustments, as well.
Because of 9/11, the Millburn police monitor synagogues and churches much more, especially during the upcoming Jewish holidays. Palardy explained every check at a school or religious institution is documented.
While there have been no new policies or procedures implemented by the department, there has been a strict emphasis on defending against chemical agents and all policemen now carry gas masks at all times. There have also been several first responder drills and active shooter training courses conducted by the state, county and the federal government each year since the attacks. Additionally, the department also has a full time training officer and a mandatory five days of training a year.
Although Millburn was not able to increase man power due to the recession, Palardy feels the community is in good hands.
“I believe the community feels safer,” he said.
Since Sept. 11, 2001 the community and the police department have definitely grown closer, he said. Residents have attended some of the police trainings and there have been several school lock down drills, as well. In order to prepare for any type of attack, the department is now privy to many intricate maps of possible terrorist targets and has evacuation plans. Furthermore, every department has incident command system training which involves finance, logistics, operating and planning.
“I think the officers in the department are all better trained now from 9/11,” the captain said. “Before 9/11 we lived in this secure shell and we realized there are some vulnerabilities. I think our department is prepared or any disaster. I believe the community’s happy with the service we provide.”
11 years later, all of the training and extra work has become second nature, he said. He added technology is playing a major role in assisting the department as they head into the future. In two weeks, they will be getting license plate readers which can read 1,800 plates a minute and many residents in the area have security cameras post-911, which have made a difference in crime prevention, he said.