Posted Monday, August 15th, 2016


Youths from 22 Morris County towns today began a weeklong immersion into the world of first responders. They face an intensive course that includes a host of public safety and response programs and exercises, as part of the fourth-annual Morris County Public Safety Youth Academy.

Students participating in 2015 Public Safety Youth Academy

Students participating in 2015 Public Safety Youth Academy

The 37 high school students participating in this unique and free program, sponsored by the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, will experience a program that features a multi-faceted approach to public safety, including training in law enforcement, emergency medical services, firefighting, and emergency management.

A new addition to the curriculum this year will feature responses to the global problems of terror attacks and resultant mass casualties that now confront first responders across the nation, and around the globe.

The curriculum will also feature an Active Shooter program that promotes awareness to the “Run, Hide, Fight” and “A.L.I.C.E” – (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate) programs that are being taught in our schools across Morris County.

“You don’t need to be the next victim. We need to show our youth options for survival,” said John Bonanni, Morris County Administrator.

Trauma Kit 1

Trauma Kits for 2016 Academy participants

Trauma Kits for 2016 Academy participants


Students will get a taste of the police academy-style physical training in a very structured, para-military style program that is held at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany.

“This program is like none other offered in this area. Cadets are exposed to all facets of the public safety profession,’’ said Scott DiGiralomo, Director of the Morris County Department of Law and Public Safety. “Our goal is to aid young adults in making a potentially life-changing professional commitment that could benefit themselves and their community,’’

Most youth academies focus strictly on law enforcement. The Morris County Program aspires to provide cadets with relevant and appropriate hands-on experience, allowing them to make an educated decision on their futures.

To achieve this goal, the cadets are exposed to subject matter experts in the areas of police, fire, EMS and OEM. By allowing them to participate in multiple aspects of the public safety field, the cadets can cultivate an interest in a field previously unfamiliar to them.

Doug Cabana

Doug Cabana

“The Youth Academy provides high school students with exposure to the field of public safety. At such an important time in a young adult’s life, when they are making decisions about their future, the academy affords them a hands-on opportunity to better understand and consider the field of public safety,’’ said Freeholder Doug Cabana, who is the county Freeholder Board’s liaison to the Department of Law and Public Safety.

The program is five days long and lasts eight hours each day. Participating students are high school students who range in age from 13 to 17.

This year’s Public Safety Youth Academy class is the first class since the worldwide catastrophic events, such as events in San Bernadino and Orlando in the U.S., and mass casualty events throughout Europe and other parts of the world, said Morris County OEM Director Jeff Paul.

In response to such events, the Morris County Office of Emergency Management in partnership with the UASI (Urban Area Security Initiative) has sought to enhance the capabilities of Morris County first responders, EMS, Fire, and Police who would be dealing with catastrophic mass casualty and active shooter events.

Youth 2

More than 1,500 first responders, in Morris County, have received special training, all of the Morris County Police Officers who have received the training have been issued an IFAK, or Individual First Aid Kit, to be used to save their own lives, their partner’s life, and also for use on potential victims. Many of our EMS and Fire agencies have been issued new trauma bags with specialty equipment designed to save lives when time is the most critical.


“We have already had lifesaving events take place in Morris County as part of everyday emergency medical calls that have been directly attributable to the training and equipment being supplied as part of this program,” said Karl Klingener, Morris County Office of Emergency Management Deputy Coordinator and EMS Coordinator.

“This is an extraordinary program for these young people,’’ said Paul. “This is not make believe. The times have changed and so have we. Morris County is not immune from these horrible and tragic events, so we will be training the kids for today’s reality – just like adult responders.”

Youth 1

“You cannot assume that these types of incidents could not happen right here, where we live. We have to be prepared, our job in emergency management is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best’’ added Paul.

The students that demonstrate proficiency in their training, as well as with the specialty response kits, will be issued these unique life-saving kits upon successful conclusion of the program.

“After the intensive week of training, students who complete the course will graduate on Friday night, likely with new talents, a more mature understanding of our evolving world in 2016, and the potential that one day they may step in as the next generation of EMT’s, firefighters, police officers and emergency responders,” said Morris County Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo.

The Morris County Office of Emergency Management, in partnership with the Morris County Freeholders is looking forward to introducing new, unique training features to this year’s program for the 37 cadets starting this morning, and another successful year of the 2016 Morris County Public Safety Youth Academy.