HOWELL — Beginning in September there will be an armed police officer on duty every day at every elementary school and at both middle schools in Howell.
During a Township Council meeting on June 14, Mayor Theresa Berger announced an agreement that will put an officer at each school and said, “Thank you to the Howell Police Department and thank you to the (Howell K-8 School District) Board of Education that worked so quickly after the horrible (Uvalde, Texas) school shooting that happened in the past few weeks.”
Under the terms of a previous agreement, Howell’s 12 schools shared six Class III special law enforcement officers and three school resource officers who rotated among the buildings, Deputy Mayor Pamela Richmond explained.
A Class III special law enforcement officer is a retired law enforcement officer whose primary role at a school is security, Richmond said.
A police officer who works as a school resource officer has received special training and is present in a school not only for security purposes, but also to present programs to students, including the Law Enforcement Against Drugs program.
Acting Township Manager Joseph Clark, Councilman John Bonevich, Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell, Acting Police Chief Mark Pilecki, Capt. John Storrow, Sgt. Paul Mazzeo, Superintendent of Schools Joseph Isola, Assistant Superintendent Ronald Sanasac, school board Vice President Mark Bonjavanni and other board members met to finalize the agreement that will result in a police presence at each school every day, according to municipal officials.
During the 2022-23 academic year, each elementary school and each middle school will have a Class III officer on duty each day. The police department’s three school resource officers will rotate among the buildings.
“We went from having some officers in schools to ‘we’re all in this together,’ ” Clark said.
The cost of the police officers will continue to be shared by the township and the K-8 school district, according to municipal officials.
Richmond said the township has an agreement with the Freehold Regional High School District to provide a police officer at Howell High School.
“We know through experience that our school resource officers and our Class III officers develop friendships with the students and help put a happy, friendly face to our police department. The township is very fortunate to have such a wonderful relationship with the Board of Education and to have a world class police force that is dedicated to making our residents safe every day,” Richmond said.