For the first time ever, armed retired police officers will be hired to provide security in New Jersey's schools.
A measure approved by the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Christie creates a "Class 3" special law enforcement position for retired-in-good-standing officers under 65 years old to provide security in public and private schools.
They would be allowed to carry guns, provided they meet the statutory requirements for retired officers -- including qualifying twice a year.
They would provide on-premises security when schools are in session or occupied by students, teachers or staff -- and may respond to an off-site offense or emergency while on their way to school grounds.
They wouldn't be eligible for health care or retirement benefits, but their work hours wouldn't be limited.
“Having trained, experienced officers in schools creates a safer environment for students and staff by deterring criminals from committing acts of violence,” said state Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris), a Senate sponsor of the measure.
“These officers already have years of experience under their belts, which should make this transition to school security much easier,” Bucco said. “I’m confident that they will do a great job protecting our schools and help us prevent any tragedies in our classrooms.”
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi (R-Bergen) said the move is "not only logical -- it’s cost effective as well," given that taxpayers won't have to pay for pension or health benefits for the officers.
“Allowing school districts to hire retired police officers is common sense. No one is better equipped to protect our children and young adults than these experienced and trained individuals who have made it their career to protect the public,” said another co-sponsor, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Passaic).
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