Legislation that will allow public and non-public schools and county colleges to hire retired law enforcement officers on a part-time basis to provide security on school grounds today received approval from the General Assembly. The bill was sponsored by Assembly Republicans Anthony M. Bucco, Dave Rible and Holly Schepisi.
“Protecting our children and young adults is paramount today in light of the many incidents that have occurred around the country. This bill serves two purposes,” said Bucco (R-Morris). “First, and most important, it provides school officials with a larger pool of experienced retired police officers to hire to protect students on school property, but it will also save taxpayers a lot of money by allowing school districts and municipalities to hire these officers at a much lower rate and without the need for pension and health benefit contributions. It’s a perfect fit.”
Boards of Education are currently authorized to hire law enforcement officers and public school resource officers. This measure implicitly allows the hiring of retired law enforcement officers.
“School officials want a police presence in their schools due to the mass shootings that have occurred in recent years,” said Rible (R-Monmouth). “Students and their parents shouldn’t have to worry about their safety or their children’s safety while sitting in a classroom. While our schools have implemented enhanced security measures, allowing school officials to hire trained, experienced retired officers provide another avenue of protection.”
“There’s no doubt students today are vulnerable to attack just sitting in a classroom,” said Schepisi (R-Bergen). This bill provides an additional pool of well-trained officers towns can draw from to protect our students, teachers and staff with little cost to taxpayers.”
The bill (S-86/A-3629) establishes an additional category of special law enforcement officers, specifically, retired officers who are less than 65 years old. They will be authorized to provide security while on school or college premises during hours when the school or college is normally in session or when occupied by students or their teachers or professors. These Officers will not replace regular law enforcement officers or school resource officers currently employed in schools.
They will have the same authority and duties as regular, full-time police officers while providing school security and will be under the authority of the local chief of police.
There are currently two categories of law enforcement officers. “Class One” special officers are permitted to perform routine traffic detail, spectator control, and similar duties, but are not authorized to carry a firearm while on duty. “Class Two” officers are permanent, regularly appointed full-time police officers. They are authorized to carry a firearm.