Officers from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office are providing daily security at the two campuses operated by the Upper Freehold Regional School District.
The campuses are the Stone Bridge Middle School in Upper Freehold Township and the Newell Elementary School/Allentown High School campus in Allentown.
During an appearance before the Allentown Borough Council on Sept. 11, Board of Education President Patricia Hogan confirmed the agreement between the school board and the sheriff’s office.
Although an agreement is in place and officers are present at the schools, a final contract has not been signed, so the specific duties of the officers and the costs of the initiative are not able to be shared with the public at this time, Hogan said.
In the wake of the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., earlier this year, Hogan said the school board had resolved to have police officers at its buildings beginning in September.
She said the Township Committee in Upper Freehold appropriated $50,000 in its municipal budget to pay for armed police officers in the schools. She said school district administrators have asked Millstone Township and Allentown to also pledge financial support.
Children of high school age who live in Millstone Township attend Allentown High School through a send-receive relationship between the Millstone Township K-8 School District and the Upper Freehold Regional School District. Allentown and Upper Freehold Township are the two municipalities that make up the regional district.
Several possibilities for officers at the schools were previously discussed, including hiring Class III special law enforcement officers (retired law enforcement officers) or having the Allentown Police Department station a regular officer at each campus. Neither of those options materialized.
Instead, Hogan said, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office is able to provide the personnel needed. She said four individuals have been identified as the officers who will be on duty in Upper Freehold Regional – two officers on duty each day (one at each campus) and two officers who will work in the district if and/or when one of the two permanently assigned officers are sick or on vacation.