NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – In the wake of the Newtown, Conn. massacre, members of the Board of Education are poised to approve a policy that would allow a direct feed from security cameras located at the borough’s four schools to police headquarters, officials said.
Schools Superintendent Dr. David Miceli said that discussions between the school district and the police department began about three years ago but were accelerated after the Newtown tragedy.
Board approval of the new policy is expected to take place at the boards’ meeting on Monday, Feb. 25.
“Upon approval, I’m prepared to sit down with Police Chief Anthony Buccelli and Deputy Chief Scott Torre to begin immediate implementation,” Miceli said.
Multiple security cameras for each of the school district’s three locations (middle school and high school share a common building) will be fed directly to police headquarters.
Mayor J. Brooke Hern said that the live feeds would allow for a quicker and more effective response since officers would have advance knowledge of the extent of the emergency and marshal appropriate resources.
The mayor said police officers have undergone extensive training to deal with unimaginable scenarios. “They’re very well prepared to use that training to the benefit of kids in our schools,” he added.
Several years ago the position of school resource officer was eliminated due to budget constraints. That decision, Hern said, was being revisited as the Brought Council formulates this year’s budget.
Miceli said the Police Department has made a significant commitment to have a much greater presence at borough schools and held out hope that the school resource officer position would be restored.
“We have a great relationship with our Police Dept. which I think is the most critical element to our planning,” the superintendent said. Both groups have worked closely to develop collaborative plans.
Planning has also taken place on a countywide basis with school superintendents and police chiefs actively engaged in talks to develop plans jointly.
Miceli said upgrades to facilities are taking place that are tied to student security and safety.
Borough voters currently use three school building locations as polling places. Miceli said he had been in discussions with borough officials to move the polls to other locations. “It’s one more opportunity to reduce the chance of having someone coming into the building while school is in session,” he added.