FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hazlet Township – Monmouth County law enforcement officials will partner with municipal first responders in the county’s Bayshore region to conduct an active shooter drill at Raritan High School in Hazlet on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. It is important to note, there will be no students or school personnel on the property during the drill, though administrators from the Hazlet Township Schools District will be present at the command post to add realism to the event and improve the school’s emergency planning.
“The drill will give municipal and county law enforcement and first responders an opportunity to train together during a realistic active shooter simulation,” said Hazlet Township Police Chief Ted A. Wittke.
Unlike the previous active shooter drill in Manasquan in 2018, there also will be no volunteer students or teachers from the region participating as role-players in the exercise as an added precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“As our children return to the classroom, it is imperative that first responders in Monmouth County continue to train so we are ready for any emergency,” said Wittke. “I am grateful for the partnership of Hazlet Township Schools for allowing us to utilize Raritan High School to host the event.”
Residents should expect to see an influx of law enforcement and other first responders starting around 9 a.m. at Hazlet Soccer Fields, where first responders will have the opportunity to participate in an outdoor “table-top” walk-through of the drill before conducting the actual exercise at the high school. The live drill portion of the event will take place around 1 p.m., with participants utilizing both Raritan High School and parking lots in the vicinity of Hazlet’s Veterans Park.
It is essential that parents and residents understand they will have no access to Raritan High School or Lillian Drive Elementary School from approximately 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the day of the drill, with limited access to Veterans Park during the same time. Residents may observe increased first responder activity on County Road 516, Middle Road, and Union Avenue in Hazlet Township as part of the drill, but these roads will remain open during this exercise.
It is recommended that travelers find an alternate route during these hours.
“Monmouth County is conducting this drill to build on the lessons learned during our last full-scale exercise in Manasquan in 2018,” said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. “We are committed to improving the readiness of public safety agencies throughout Monmouth County to respond to an active threat event. We cannot become complacent.”
The scenario will include a law enforcement response coordinated with other emergency responders and medical personnel during an Active Shooter Drill. The exercise is intended to improve the capabilities of the Bayshore Monmouth County Active Shooter Partnership, which includes law enforcement agencies in Hazlet, Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Brookdale College, Highlands, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Matawan, Middletown, and Union Beach.
The exercise will also involve fire departments from both Hazlet and Holmdel, as well as EMS agencies from around the Bayshore Region. Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management, Monmouth County Fire Marshal, Monmouth County Police Chiefs Association, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, and the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team (MOCERT) will also participate in the event.
“We are utilizing this event not just to improve and test our first responders at an individual level,” said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden, whose office coordinated the funding for the event, “but to see how well our municipal and county-level agencies collaborate with each other during the stress of a realistic simulation. We will utilize the event to improve how we coordinate and communicate between public safety agencies across the region.”
The full range of participants are expected to face a simulated active shooter inside the high school building. The exercise is being coordinated by Critical Response Group, Inc., of Ewing Township, and is funded through a Homeland Security Grant Program.
An outdoor media area will be established for any reporters who wish to cover the event. Press credentials from the New Jersey Press Association, or similar organization, will be needed for access to the press area. However, due to COVID-19 concerns members of the media will NOT be given access to the drill area or any participants.
Public Information Officer Charles Webster of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-431-7160 ext. 7535 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media can also contact Deputy Chief Robert Mulligan, the Public Information Officer for the Hazlet Township Police Department, at 732-264-0763 ext. 117 or email at email@example.com.