BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - A police officer may provide extra security in township schools this year.
Township board of education president Doug Reinstein told the public the board is nearing a shared service agreement with the township police department for installation of so-called “Class III Officers” as an extra measure of security in the public schools.
Police Chief John DiPasquale said a new state policy allows armed, retired police officers to serve in the schools with enforcement powers only on school premises.
Class III officers, he noted, would receive the same training as regular township officials police but would not receive the same benefits. He added they would be “hooked into” communications with the township police department.
The chief added, however, that Class III officers would not take the place of the current school resource officers, although they might sometimes be working in the same areas. The officer would rotate through the various schools in the district, as do the school resource officers.
Reinstein said the officer will be doing juvenile-type activities with students and staff, build relationships with younger children, and be the liaison with the police department in the event of any type of emergency, including medical.
Reinstein and board member Chris Reilly said there could be another possible economic benefit to the schools. The district could possibly employ the Class III officer as security at events outside the school day.
Woodruff replied the Class III officer would be required to put in 40 hours per week, and if he or she worked under 40 hours during a school week, they could be used for school events outside school hours.
The details of this shared service agreement are being finalized.
Reinstein said the officer’s hours would be flexible, for both the time the school is normally in session and/or at activities when school is not in session.
The mayor agreed with school officials that the district could hire the officer to work at events after the 40-hour maximum was reached, if they paid the officers time-and-a-half overtime salary.
The details of the shared service agreement are being finalized.
DiPasquale said interviews for a possible Class III officer were scheduled to start on August 15.