New Notification System Implemented for Mass Casualties in Union County

The Union County Prosecutor’s Office (“UCPO”) has implemented a new procedure through which it will be immediately notified of any threatened or actual mass casualty event occurring in Union County, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Thursday.

“Such incidents have tragically become a national norm,” Prosecutor Ruotolo said. “While the hope is always that danger of this type may be detected long before a potential event, the possibility for a mass casualty incident to occur in our own backyards is ever present.

The duty we owe to the people we serve requires us to be prepared to respond not just rapidly, but also collectively, to every potential mass casualty incident – threatened or in progress.”

The new procedure took effect via a memorandum sent to all of Union County’s various law enforcement agencies last week, defining “mass casualty incidents” as scenarios involving active shooters; school, hospital, and/or business lockdowns; hostage situations; bomb scares; terrorist attacks; targeted violence towards law enforcement or emergency response personnel during the performance of their duties; riots; and any other incident for which the potential number of casualties or complexity of the police response could require more than the readily available resources of any one department.

The notification mandated by the new procedure will go to a designated UCPO Mass Casualty Incident Liaison (“MCIL”) immediately following deployment of local law enforcement personnel to the location of the incident.

The list of MCILs to contact includes the UCPO Counter Terrorism Coordinator, and several other investigators trained in hostage negotiation techniques, as well as the Deputy Chief, Chief of Detectives, and County Prosecutor.

The appropriate UCPO MCIL then will immediately respond to the scene of the threat in a support capacity, remaining there to facilitate the deployment of additional resources, if necessary.

Prosecutor Ruotolo noted that “through this procedure we will position ourselves to marshal our combined resources quickly and efficiently to resolve, or altogether thwart, these incidents as safely as possible.”