FBI Newark
Special Agent Michael Whitaker
(973) 792-3020
May 4, 2014

FBI Hosts Comprehensive Incident Threat Response Exercise

Today, the Newark Field Office of the FBI hosted a training exercise to simulate a complex attack in a public venue. The exercise began during the early morning hours at The Outlet Collection | Jersey Gardens located in Elizabeth and will be complete prior to normal business hours for mall tenants.

The FBI, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security, state and local law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services, along with the private sector, is conducting exercises at local malls across the country as the final phase of the Complex Mall Attack initiative that was developed to promote preparedness. In 2013, all FBI field offices hosted facilitated discussions with public safety and private sector partners that focused on preparedness, response, and recovery efforts necessary to effectively address a complex attack. The FBI is committed to strengthening public safety and private sector partnerships necessary to protect the United States and its citizens.

“Today’s exercise strengthens the unity and strategic collaboration among law enforcement agencies, first responders, and private sector partners during a crisis by offering an opportunity to train, assess our response, and make improvements well in advance of a real-world incident,” said Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford of the Newark FBI. “We sincerely thank our hosts today, as well as all of our federal, state, and local partners, for participating in today’s exercise and ensuring that we are all prepared for the unlikely event of an attack.”

“We are extremely enthusiastic about participating in this joint training exercise with partners including the FBI and local, county, state, and regional police and SWAT forces,” acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park said. “Union County features large hubs of transportation and commerce coordinated via ground, sea, and air, and that’s why counterterrorism ranks high among our top priorities. Our office’s Counter-Terrorism Task Force remains vigilant in addressing this issue, but we also eagerly embrace any opportunity to coordinate with other agencies to maximize our preparedness.”

Every effort was made to schedule this exercise so as not to interfere with normal mall operations. Today’s exercise at The Outlet Collection | Jersey Gardens will have no effect on the normal business hours of the mall’s more than 200 tenants and will have minimal effect on pre-opening activities. While the public may see law enforcement activity at The Outlet Collection | Jersey Gardens, the public and the media are advised to avoid the exercise area at the mall while training is in progress.

“We want to thank the Newark FBI; the Department of Homeland Security; state, county, and local law enforcement and fire and emergency services, as well as local officials, for their ongoing partnership and for their work promoting public safety,” said Denise Palazzo, General Manager at The Outlet Collection | Jersey Gardens.

The FBI Active Shooter and Mass Casualty Incidents web page is a resource for law enforcement and the public to learn more about critical incidents involving mass casualties.

The FBI Newark, New Jersey State Police, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, Union County Police Department, Union County Emergency Services Unit, and The Outlet Collection | Jersey Gardens participated in today’s exercise.