Retired police officers will be hired to provide school security in New Jersey if Gov. Christie signs a bill approved by New Jersey legislators into law.
The new law would create a "Class 3" special law enforcement position for retired-in-good-standing officers uder 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.
The state Senate OK'd the proposal in January. The Assembly approved it on Monday.
It now heads to Christie's desk.
“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 one of the sponsors, Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce (R-Passaic).
“While the safety of our students is priority, this measure will benefit taxpayers too as they will not have to foot the bill for pension and health benefits for these retired officers,” DeCroce added.
"As recent experiences have shown, minutes and even seconds count when a threat emerges in a school," said state Sen. Anthony Bucco (R-Morris), a Senate sponsor of the measure. "Having an experienced officer present and ready to respond at a moment's notice can help prevent that threat from becoming a tragedy."
The measure provides protection "without breaking the bank for taxpayers," he added. "It allows us to leverage the experience and training of retired police officers to keep our kids safe, and allows full-time police officers to remain on the streets serving entire communities."
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