The New Jersey state legislature is considering a bill that would dramatically alter the state’s approach to school security. It would create a new class of police officer who would serve as an armed guard at any public or private school within the state.
The bill was first introduced in June of 2015, in response to the shooting the elementary school in Newton, CT in 2012. The bill was approved by a law enforcement subcommittee on Thursday and will next go to a vote before the entire legislature.
The “Class Three” officers will have these defining characteristics:
- Retired in-good-standing officers under 65 years of age
- Patrol only upon school grounds or within 100 feet of them
- Allowed to carry a firearm only while on duty
- Additional training will be required
- No additional health or retirement benefits will be paid
For years, there have been regular patrol officers at some schools. Furthermore, some schools have hired private security firms, as well. This new level of officer will avail all schools in the state to a consistent and state-sponsored law enforcement presence.
Guns on school campuses are not a new thing, however. Roughly one-third of the states in the country allow them, provided the guns are carried by those legally allowed to do so.
A district in Texas just a measure that will not only allow them, but will actually provide the guns, as well. In contrast, a Washington state district just rejected a proposal that would have allowed either armed police officers or police-trained resource officers on campus..