EDISON - Officials and shoppers are questioning if enough is done to keep customers and employees safe at shopping malls following last night’s shooting at the Garden State Plaza.
Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli is emphasizing the need to prepare for those situations. "You always prepare for the worst but hope for the best," he says. Teams standing ready along with repeated searches was the standard response to those situations, according to Molinelli.
Vincent Bove, a security consultant who's worked with law enforcement, says training is helping. "They have table-top exercises, partial scale evacuation scenarios," he says. "In the event something like this happens they can respond as a unified force."
Bove says law enforcement agencies are watching "soft targets" like shopping malls and can present a full response to dangerous scenarios. "Years ago, they waited for superiors and the SWAT team," he says. "But now, law enforcement are responding quickly, making entry immediately.”
Outside the Menlo Park Mall, shoppers say the potential of danger is not keeping them away. "Especially during the holiday season, security is tightened," says Brian Mahovetz, of Edison. "You should still feel safe going to any mall."
Active shooter training has become standard for law enforcement agencies across New Jersey.