CHATHAM, NJ - The Borough of Chatham Council voted, 5-1, to introduce an ordinance that will allow for the hiring of Class III Special Law Enforcement Officers who would be licensed to carry guns in Chatham Schools on Monday night.

Council member Jocelyn Mathiasen cast the dissenting vote.

The ordinance, which will be up for adoption at the Feb. 25 meeting, coincides with the Chatham Board of Education's plan to hire two Class III officers, one for Chatham Township and one for Chatham Borough for the remainder of the current school year.

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The Chatham Township Committee already has approved the shared services agreement that will allow for the hiring of a Class III officer. Chatham Superintendent Michael LaSusa reported at the last meeting of the BOE that Chatham Township Police Chief Thomas Miller was interviewing candidates for the position.

Before the vote to introduce was taken, council member Mathiasen objected to the language of the ordinance, which said: "Whereas, the Mayor and Council has determined it to be in the best interests of the Borough and its residents to authorize the appointment of Class Three SLEOs in accordance with N.J.S.A. 40A:14-146.8..."

Mathiasen pointed out that there had been no discussion of the ordinance before the vote and the council agreed, 6-0, to remove that paragraph from the ordinance. She also detailed her opposition to placing armed officers in the schools in the video below. 

Mathiasen confirmed after the meeting that she was both opposed to the wording of the original ordinance, which was amended, and the policy of having armed officers in Chatham Schools. At the Feb. 4 Chatham Board of Education meeting, high school students asked the board to reconsider the hiring of Class III officers.