BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township Police swore in the final Class III officer to be placed in the schools for the upcoming school year.

Porfirio Ayala, Jr., was sworn in as a Class III officer Aug. 20.

Ayala retired from the New Jersey State Police in September 2018 as a lieutenant after serving in the agency for 30 years.

Sign Up for E-News

Ayala is beginning his training at the end of August, and will be placed in the school system at the beginning of the school year.

"Our department and town are honored to have him as a Class III officer," said Operations Division Capt. Paul S. Payne.

According to the New Jersey School Boards Association, the option for these officers was made available as of June 1 by state law that creates a type of law enforcement personnel that is trained specifically to provide security in and around schools. They are called Class III Special Law Enforcement Officers, and they are hired only to provide security at schools when they are in session.

These officers are retired so they can be hired at lower costs, but will operate under the authority of the local police department and have full police powers.

The department has already hired former Roselle Police Department Capt. Mark Christensen and former Somerset County Sheriff's Department Capt. Mark Szczecina. The plan was to hire three officers in total.