The Belleville Police Department will conduct an “active shooter” drill at Belleville High School, 100 Passaic Ave., on the morning of Friday, April 8, the department announced.
“This type of police training is conducted regularly in accordance with state mandates but this year we decided to expand the scenario to include our Fire [Department] and EMS counterparts,” said Deputy Police Chief Mark Minichini.
“We are also increasing the realism of the drill by utilizing role players, other law enforcement [including Essex County Sheriff’s Office and West Orange PD] and state and federal agencies,” he added.
The four-hour drill has been jointly planned by public safety officials and school officials to maximize the training value for first responders while maintaining the highest level of safety for all participants, Minichini said. It is expected to involve up to 50 participants, he added.
And it will be conducted without disruption to classes since BHS will be unoccupied during spring recess, he noted.
Minichini said that local residents should be prepared to experience limited road closures and detours around the perimeter of the high school during the morning. Appropriate signage will be posted in the areas affected.
In other police activity, Minichini said the police department is actively investigating a burglary attempt at Raimo Liquors in the 100 block of Washington Ave. that happened during the overnight hours early last Wednesday.
He said police were called to that location by a private alarm company after an alarm was activated there, shortly before 5 a.m.
Upon arrival, police discovered a window in the rear of the building had been shattered and that entry had been made — but the alarm sounding had apparently scared away the intruder, Minichini said.
However, Minichini noted, the hastily departing burglar left two important clues: He abandoned a “crateful of power tools” at the scene and his image was caught on a private surveillance tape, showing a scorpion tattoo on his wrist.
Based on the type of tools found, police surmise the burglar “was prepared to break down some concrete walls” to access another target — an adjacent jewelry store.
But, after hearing the alarm, he simply fled the scene.
Minichini said police are asking anyone who may have information relevant to the break-in to contact Det. Sgt. John McAloon at 973-450-3361.
— Ron Leir