MONTVILLE, NJ – The Montville Township Public Schools will likely have a school resource officer plus a special law enforcement officer if an ordinance introduced on June 26 passes in two weeks.
Parents have been vocal about asking for a police presence in the schools at March and April board of ed and township committee meetings, and after months of negotiations between the BOE and township committee, ordinances were introduced for the hiring of the special law enforcement officer class III (SLEO) and an agreement with the schools to assign a school resource officer. The school resource officer (SRO), a police officer currently on the force, will provide various programs through the guidance of the police chief, the superintendent and the administration of the school system, Township Administrator Victor Canning said. The SLEO position was created for the district and is certified as an SRO. The person will probably be a retired law enforcement officer who will provide security throughout the school system but primarily at the high school, he said.
Canning said the “runway was quite short” so the township was trying to fast-forward the ordinances, paperwork and hiring processes necessary to hire the SLEO III and put the SRO into place by school’s opening in September. He said he was proud of the results of perseverance and that “good results will come out of this for everyone in the community.” He thanked the school board, Superintendent of Schools René Rovtar, and the township committee.
Rovtar came to the microphone during public portion to support the introduction and thank the committee. She said it was very much a “cooperative spirit” when meeting with the subcommittee of the township and the subcommittee from the school administration “appreciated the collaboration.”
“We know that the addition of this personnel will greatly enhance our security in the district and that’s something that, in today’s day and age, is critically important, so we do appreciate the time and effort that went into getting us to this point,” she said.
Rovtar said assuming the successful passage of the resolutions at the July 17 township committee meeting, the Board of Education will be passing a similar resolution at their July 17 meeting.
Mayor Richard Conklin thanked Rovtar and Board President Charles Grau, who was also in attendance.
Interestingly, the SRO resolution is for the 2018-2019 school year only, while the SLEO III ordinance is for three school years and is for two individuals working half days each according to Canning. According to the terms listed in the ordinance, the school system owes the township no compensation for the SRO.
The resolutions were introduced at the June 22 meeting but do not take effect until they have a public hearing and are passed as ordinances by a majority vote at the July 17 meeting.
The township added resolution 2018-158 to the agenda, which was a separation agreement with Police Chief Rudy Appelmann. Police spokesman Capt. Andrew Caggiano confirmed to TAPinto Montville that Applemann is retiring as of Dec. 31.
Canning announced that administration has applied for a FEMA grant for the March 6 and 7 storm which crippled the township with felled trees and power outages, and he hopes to receive approximately $250,000 in Dept. of Public Works expenses and $30,000 in police overtime. He stated that in the past similar funds took 18 months to receive.
New VFW Post 5481 Commander Andy Vyniski introduced himself to the committee. He stated he recently moved to Montville in September from Nutley because his daughter has lived in town for 12 years. His grandchildren attend Montville schools. He said he wanted the post to work with Montville Township and whatever the post can do, to please let them know.
Township officials honored Design Review Committee member Alexander Nesterok for his six years of service to the township. Nesterok called Montville a great place to live and raise his children.
Regarding the JCP&L meeting of May 22, Canning said he had sent representative John Meehan his questions but had not yet heard back and he was disappointed. Committee Member Matt Kayne wanted to know if residents had experienced power outages aside from major storms.
The municipal pipeline group, of which Montville Township is a member, is going to try to get a meeting with the new administration in Trenton, “to see if they have any different vision for the pipeline,” Conklin said.
At the next meeting, July 17, the cable television renewal hearing will take place, and the results of the survey the township conducted will be shared.
Recently the township reminded residents who wished, to sign up with the township clerk to be on a “no solicitors” list. Residents can do so here, but the list excluded non-profit organizations like schools and scout groups, according to Abaza.
Project Graduation, the drug- and alcohol-free celebration following the high school’s graduation, was poorly attended, according to Committee Member June Witty, with only 130 attending out of 304 graduates, with many leaving early, and a venue change is being considered by the Drug Awareness Council.
The township was audited as it is every year and it had no recommendations, something that is extremely rare and something Kayne called “well done.” Canning called it a place “few people get to go.” He said it was a credit to the staff.
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