SPARTA, NJ – With the weekend bombings in New Jersey and New York area residents and law enforcement personnel appear to have increased awareness of their surroundings. 

“All the officers have a heightened awareness with all these incidents occurring locally around us,” said Sparta Police Sgt Dennis Proctor.  “As far as I know, our department has not been given any specific advisories, except to be cognizant of all these things occurring.” 

On Monday in Morristown, some streets were closed and buildings were evacuated as police investigated several packages left at the local Starbucks, as reported on TAPinto Morristown.

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Police responded to two “unusual packages” at 40 Park Place at the corner of Market.  This led authorities to close Maple and Market Streets, according to the report.  Eventually the area was cleared and reopened by police.

Tuesday morning several suspicious packages were reportedly found “scattered throughout the parking lot” at the Target in Fairfield, as reported on TAPinto West Essex.  Fairfield police and fire departments responded to the scene and closed both the Target and the parking lot, according to Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna.  That investigation ultimately deemed the packages to be safe by the Essex County Bomb Squad.

Sparta Police Chief Ernie Reigstad said in an interview on Monday the Sparta police, as do most local police departments, relies on the pubic to remain vigilant.  “We need the eyes and ears of the public,” Reigstad said.  “We cannot do it alone.”

Since 9/11 Reigstad said local police departments regularly “received notifications” that are primarily confidential.  They share information with the public when it is warranted.

Reigstad said they take all tips from the public seriously and that the public should remain vigilant, “especially when they are in a crowd.”  People should watch for suspicious “people and packages.”  He repeated the familiar phrase “If you see something, say something.” 

Taking that advice a step further, Reigstad encouraged people to call police if they see something that concerns them. “There is no phone call that is unimportant to us, no such thing as a ridiculous call.”