How the New Providence Police has Changed Since 9/11
Thursday, September 13, 2012 • 3:55pm
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ- It has been 11 years since the worst day in American history and things have changed drastically. While freedom is no longer taken for granted, police departments are under much more pressure than they were in the past.
New Providence Deputy Chief Scott Torre said the biggest difference between now and prior to Sept. 11, 2001 is the training. He and his staff have taken Islamic culture courses and have attended many anti-terror training courses each year. Torre is also a member of an anti-terror unit.
After 30 years on the job, Torre said he never would have imagined he would one day be learning about Islamic culture. He also was sent to Socorro, New Mexico where the federal government held training courses on terrorist bombings. They even learned how to make a car bomb similar to what Timothy McVeigh used in Oklahoma in 1995. Seeing something like this really shocked him, he said.
“It was neat, but it was disconcerting at the same time because they’re showing you diff types of explosive devices and you realize how vulnerable you are,” he said.
However, because New Providence is such a small town they haven’t seen a lot of change related to terrorism, Torre said. School security has definitely improved greatly, he said. Over the past 11 years, the schools and faculty have been extremely cooperative and more importantly understood the need to participate in active shooter and bomb threat drills and evacuations. By practicing these, parents feel safe, he said.
“We’ve taken school security to a whole new level,” he said. “It’s good because it’s opened up communication with the whole school staff and us.”
Policemen now carry new weapons and gear, in a “go bag,” which they carry with them at all times. Some of the items include a ballistic vest, a millennium two gas mask, a ballistic helmet and personal protection gear. While Torre hopes they never have to use any of this, he is glad they have it.
Looking ahead to the future, Torre feels the community is in good hands and his department is well prepared. He is surrounded by great officers whose goal is to keep New Providence safe, he said.