PUBLIC SAFETY: Police chiefs throughout Bergen County have boosted Passover Week security in their towns after a gunman killed three people at two Jewish facilities near Kansas City yesterday.
In addition, Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino and Bergen County Police Chief Brian Higgins offered their K9 units and other specialized teams to the chiefs to help increase safety and ease concerns in their communities.
Saudino and Higgins said any police agency or facility can request a bomb sweep.
The sheriff also said that officers out serving warrants are including drive-bys — and stops at — local Jewish centers.
“I spoke with Rabbi Mosbacher, who leads our temple, regarding the incident in Kansas,” Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon. “He provided us with the times of all their services.
“We will provide a visible presence during those times as well as extra patrols throughout the next several weeks.”
Batelli, who is the president of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association, also emailed his colleagues.
“These days have historically been marked by extremist acts of violence and terrorism as evidenced by Sunday’s incident,” the message to his fellow chiefs reads, in part. “If you have a Jewish synagogue or community center in your jurisdiction I would encourage you to reach out to them to see what concerns they may have and the times of their services.”
The chiefs were right in step.
“We’ve increased both our patrols and presence at and around our Jewish facilities,” Tenafly Police Chief Robert Chamberlain said.
“We immediately deployed directed marked and unmarked patrols in the area of Temple Israel ( photo, above ) upon learning of the shootings,” Ridgewood Police Chief John Ward said. “We will maintain extra presence in and around the temple throughout the holidays and beyond as needed.”
“We increased patrols and reached out to our synagogues and schools,” Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said.
“We have extra patrols at all religious houses of worship,” Closter Police Chief Dennis Kaine added.
Even those facilities not in use are getting attention.
“The Solomon Schechter School is not in session this week,” New Milford Police Chief Frank Papapietro said, “but we’re keeping an eye on it.”
The vigilance has spread throughout the county.
“Although we do not have any temples in the borough, we are cognizant this time of year — especially considering yesterday’s attack,” Ramsey Police Chief Bryan Gurney told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “Oklahoma City, Brand Davidians, Columbine, Virginia Tech and the Boston bombings all occurred this time of the month.”
The Anti-Defamation League noted that the Passover holiday coincides this year with Adolf Hitler’s birthday on Sunday.
TOP PHOTO: Temple Israel, Ridgewood PD car (BOYD A. LOVING PHOTO)