Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lessons from a Different World

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Lessons from a Different World

Article excerpt

When Paramus Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg was invited to attend a sponsored trip to Israel, it didn't take him long to accept.

"I jumped on it," said Ehrenberg as he sat in his office recalling his recent eight-day trip. "I always had an interest in their security forces, IDF [Israel Defense Forces], and how they operate."

Ehrenberg was part of a group of North Jersey emergency responders invited to Israel by the Paramus-based Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey, a group that routinely sponsors trips like these to create relationships between officials in Israel and North Jersey. While in Israel, the eight-person group, made up of high- ranking police officers and medical personnel, witnessed what it's like to be an emergency responder in a country where quick response is critical and the threat of terrorism is high.

Throughout the trip, emergency responders met with Israeli officials, attended classes, saw how the Israelis handled emergencies, visited religious locations in northern Israel and spent a day at that nation's police academy. Officials also saw how the police in Israel compare with those in the Garden State.

Similar crimes

"They have crime [in Israel] just like anybody else: marijuana is a problem, purse-snatching is a problem. They have the same issues as American cops," said Ehrenberg. "The difference was, where we always have the threat of terrorism in the United States, they live with that right there."

For Ehrenberg, a takeaway from the journey was the emergency management and planning systems Israeli officials had in place. "They had it down to a science,'' he said. "Everybody knew what to do."

These practices are valuable, especially for populous communities like those in North Jersey. Paramus, for example, has plenty of soft targets such as malls, and security is a major concern, said Ehrenberg. He cited various incidents over the past four years that drew heavy emergency responses: In 2012, two synagogues in Paramus were attacked with fire bombs. …

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