Police Sweep the malls
By Mel Fabrikant Saturday, December 08, 2007, 02:27 PM EST
This deployment had been planned well in advance of the Omaha debacle, but the timing stressed the need for this service. Paramus Deputy Chief Richard Cary and Captain James Sheehan had alerted me to this several weeks ago; they honored my request to accompany the group.
A convoy of approximately 20 police vehicles converged upon the Paramus Park Mall and took up stations at each entrance as well as roving patrols that were determined to alert the public to their activities. Trooper Sanders made sure that they had ample supplies of OAG7.21.04, a brochure explaining the intent of the police presence. He had about 15 State Troopers with him and they were assigned to the varied collection of law enforcement officials circulating the mall.
Paramus Park Mall Manager Minnie Adams was on hand to greet the task force as was John Molinelli, Bergen County Prosecutor and his agent in charge, Detective Gina Garguilo. When I asked Minnie Adams about her reaction to this and the mall patrons, she endorsed the program wholeheartedly. Acknowledging the fact that the initial reaction to their presence by visitors was shocking, she felt that after the first impression, they too were happy to know that law enforcement officials were concerned about them. She received several phone calls asking if the Mall was safe.
The thrust of the program was twofold. By appealing to the public for their help protecting the communities, harbors, bridges, aviation, tunnels and landmarks, they were gaining help in the war against potential terrorist and suspicious activity.
From the Paramus Park Mall, the group convoyed over to the Westfield Garden State Plaza Shopping Center where once again they deployed to the entrances and throughout the Plaza area. Interestingly enough, as Trooper Sanders had mentioned in the briefing, the law enforcement presence was not as well displayed as at the Paramus Park Mall even with a helicopter flying overhead. The Plaza is that huge!