FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Special law enforcement officers employed by the Freehold Township Police Department will provide security in two school districts in Freehold Township following the execution of shared services agreements between each school district and the Township Committee.
Freehold Township is home to seven elementary schools, two middle schools and an early learning center operated by the Freehold Township K-8 School District, and to Freehold Township High School, which is operated by the Freehold Regional High School District.
On Sept. 11, committee members authorized the execution of a shared services agreement with each school district for Class II and Class III special law enforcement officers. The Class III officers are recently retired law enforcement officers. Special law enforcement officers are permitted to carry a firearm while on duty.
Each resolution states that the agreement was entered into to economize and assure the most efficient use of tax dollars. Each resolution also states that the committee is of the opinion the agreement is beneficial to Freehold Township taxpayers.
According to municipal officials, the agreement with the Freehold Township K-8 School District will cost about $160,000 per year. The agreement with the Freehold Regional High School District will cost about $55,000 per year. Both costs are to be split 50/50 between the township and the respective school districts.
With the costs split, the Freehold Regional High School District will pay approximately $27,000 annually and the Freehold Township K-8 School District will pay approximately $80,000 annually. The township will pay a total of about $107,000 for both agreements each year.
School security has been the topic of renewed and vigorous interest among parents, school board members and school district administrators since February after a gunman entered the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and killed 17 people. Subsequent incidents have followed, including a shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, in May, which resulted in the death of 10 people.
Municipal representatives met with administrators from the two districts and are continuing to monitor the way in which schools, students and staff members are being protected.
“The safety of children in Freehold Township is of primary importance to everyone, including the Township Committee,” Mayor Anthony Ammiano said.
In addition to the shared services agreements with the two school districts, municipal officials have authorized the execution of a shared services agreement among eight police departments in western Monmouth County to implement the Western Monmouth Active Shooter Training Group, with Freehold Township serving as the lead agency and the provider in the shared services agreement.
Along with the Freehold Township Police Department, the group is comprised of the Allentown, Colts Neck, Englishtown, Freehold Borough, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro police departments. The eight police departments that comprise the group all neighbor each other in the western region of the county.
The training group is intended to allow interagency standardization of active shooter response protocols and facilitating a rapid response and coordination in the event that officers from multiple agencies may be the first responders in neighboring communities for active shooter incidents.