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Cooperation will be Key to Crossroads Security Plan, Developer Says

Crossroads Developer presented a security plan for the proposed shopping center last week that included an analysis letter from the police chief.

The plan for security at the proposed Crossroads shopping center in Mahwah includes three security officers, one security vehicle, security cameras, a security signage and lighting plan, staff training, an on-site emergency services facility, and coordination with Mahwah and county emergency responders, developers said at a hearing last week. The developer told Planning Board members the plan will lead to a “safe environment” at the shopping center.

According to a presentation by Crossroads attorney Jim Jaworski, the Crossroads security plan includes multiple points that the developer will agree to implement at the shopping center, and all of them will be carried out in coordination with local authorities. For example, the Crossroads lighting plan for during and after operation hours will be reviewed by the Mahwah Police Department before it is installed, and Mahwah’s emergency responders will be able to conduct response drills at the shopping center, he said.

“We will continue to cooperate fully with the Mahwah Police Department,” Jaworski said.

“They need to understand the site, so they will be conducting trainings there as needed.”

According to the testimony, the two security guards and one car currently at the Sheraton Crossroads would stay, and three officers and a car would be added once the facility is fully built out. A preliminary plan would have one officer monitoring security cameras, one stationed in the pedestrian-friendly side of the development, and the other on the big box side. Individual tenants would likely also hire security guards inside their own stores, Jaworski said.

“The Mahwah Police Department will be called [to respond to] events,” he said. “The security guards are not life savers, they are deterrents.”

According to a security analysis performed when the development was proposed, it would required the MPD to add one to two full-time officers, whose salaries would be covered by the taxes paid on the facility, representatives said.

Jaworski also presented a letter from Mahwah Police Chief Jim Batelli reviewing the security plan. The letter said the plan called for “sound and proven security measures.”

Planning Board members and members of the public questioned the security plan in light of the shooting incident at the Garden State Plaza.

Jaworski told the board that ongoing police trainings at the facility and staff training on what to do in an emergency would help prepare for all types of emergencies.

“Our intent is to provide a safe environment,” he said. “If it’s not safe, no one’s going to shop there.”

The developer also said the security plan would be continuously reevaluated and adjusted as needed.

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