Shooting Threat Cancels Friday Night Hoops at Kennedy; Extra Police Assigned to Saturday Tournament Games
Saturday, January 19, 2013 • 1:17pm
PATERSON, NJ – The city school district has hired four additional off-duty police officers to provide security at today’s basketball tournament games at Kennedy High gymnasium after two games were canceled Friday night because of a threat of a shooting, officials said.
Also, the Paterson Police Department will be assigning extra officers to the Kennedy during the day-long tournament, said city police director Glenn Brown.
“The threat didn’t involve one of our kids from Paterson,’’ said deputy school superintendent Eileen Shafer. “It was someone from the outside.’’
The first game of the tournament on Friday between Dwight Morrow of Englewood and Lakeland already had been played when the decision to cancel the others was made. The final two scheduled games between Passaic—Tech and Kennedy-St. Anthony were postphoned after Englewood police received a call that there would be a shooting at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic tournament, officials said. Kennedy principal Amod Field said city school officials received word of the threat during the last minute of the first game.
“We decided to err on the side of caution,’’ said the school district’s security director, James Smith.
Board of Education President Christopher Irving said the recent tragedy in Newtown has made school officials all the more sensitive to such threats. “Every threat needs to be taken seriously,’’ he said.
Shafer, who had been a high school basketball coach in Essex County before she came to Paterson more than 20 years ago, said she cannot recall another school sporting event in the city canceled because of a threat. Irving said there have been cases when extra security staff members were assigned to games because of threats, particularly involving Paterson’s “up-the-hill-down-the-hill” friction.
Normally at tournament games, the district hires two off-duty police officers to provide security and also assigns several of its in-house security officers to attend. For Saturday’s games, there will be six-off duty office at the gym, officials said.
The games are part of a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society.
There are seven games scheduled for today at Kennedy, with the first starting at 11 am and the last at 8 pm. None of the games involves a school from Englewood.
Northjersey.com listed the following schedule: Hawthorne Christian-Eastern Christian at 11 a.m., Bergen Catholic-Passaic Valley at 12:30 pm., Wood-Ridge-West Milford at 2, Tenafly-Wayne Hills at 3:30, North Bergen -Wayne Valley at 5, Dickinson-Passaic at 6:30 and St. Joseph-Teaneck at 8.
The Passaic Tech-Seton Hall Prep game was rescheduled for 1 pm on Saturday at Seton Hall Prep, while the Kennedy-St. Anthony game had not yet been rescheduled, according to northjersey.com.