As the Brick school district plans a referendum that would add new security features to the town’s schools, officials are planning a new first line of defense in case of an emergency: armed security guards patrolling the grounds and buildings.
Brick Police Chief James Riccio said his department is planning to hire a number of officers under a newly-created certification – Class III Special Officers – that allows retired police officers and state troopers to come back to work at part-time salaries.
The Board of Education on Thursday night voted unanimously to hire four security officers at per-diem rate of $185, not to exceed $33,000 per year. All of the officers will be armed, and are retired from either the Brick police department of the New Jersey State Police.
“They’re already experienced, they’ll be armed, and we can place them in the schools,” said Riccio.
The police department and school district are planning to hire seven officers, who will complement patrols near schools that have already been stepped up following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla. in February. Riccio said in the past, officers would normally fill out paperwork while parked in shopping centers and other parking lots, but now have been instructed to do so near school buildings so they can keep an extra watch while completing required reports.
Riccio also said under a new schedule that was adopted by the department last year, each officer “owes” the department 130 hours per year in exchange for the new schedule, and those officers are being used to patrol schools during that time.
The seven dedicated, new officers will undergo specific training and need to have stellar qualifications.
“We’re very selective as to who we want and the training that they have,” said Riccio. “We’re very confident we’re going to have two more people [to approve for hiring] on the next agenda.”
Of the four officers hired Thursday, one will be assigned to Brick Township High School, two will be assigned to Brick Memorial High School and one will be assigned to elementary and middle schools on a rotating basis.
“All are either retired Brick police officers or state troopers,” Riccio said.