Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a bill into law that requires the administrators of all public and nonpublic schools in New Jersey to submit critical incident mapping data to local law enforcement agencies in an electronic format.
In August, Murphy announced a $6.5 million investment in American Rescue Plan funds toward a statewide school security initiative to collect and digitize school building blueprints and make them available to first responders, according to a press release.
S-2426, the legislation that recently became law, requires each board of education, board of trustees or chief school administrators to provide their local law enforcement authorities or designated law enforcement entities with incident mapping data for all schools and school grounds, according to the press release.
“We have seen, time and time again, public mass shootings taking place across our country. Providing our law enforcement and first responders with the critical incident mapping data will aid them in their efforts in case of an emergency at a school,” Murphy was quoted as saying in the press release.
“This administration, in partnership with our legislative partners, will continue to put the health and safety of our students first and this is another step forward in our efforts to protect our students and teachers,” he said.
Critical incident mapping data includes:
• Aerial images of schools;
• Floor plans, including room and suite numbers;
• Building access points;
• Locations of hazardous materials and utility shut-offs;
• Any other relevant location information.
Mapping data must be updated as necessary and revised copies are required to be provided to law enforcement entities. The bill will first apply for the 2023-24 school year.
“Ensuring the safety of our children is and always will be a top priority. As gun violence continues to reach every corner of our nation, including our schools, the job of protecting our children is more important now than ever,” Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin said.
“Thanks to the Governor’s leadership, we are offering concrete investments in the resources, tools and information law enforcement officers need to act swiftly and with precision to protect students and educators in the event of an emergency,” he said.
“Student safety is a top priority for every school official (and) this legislation takes us a giant leap forward in the evolution of school security,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, acting commissioner of education.
“In New Jersey, we strive to be forward-thinking with our efforts to protect our students and school staff, and this measure will provide first responders with tools that can benefit public and nonpublic schools alike,” she said.
“Protecting students and teachers when they step into a school remains a top priority for New Jersey as Gov. Murphy has demonstrated with this latest bill signing,” said New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Laurie R. Doran.
“Our team continues to closely collaborate with our law enforcement and education sector partners statewide as we work to roll out this innovative mapping technology which will serve as a critical tool for first responders by equipping them with a basic visual understanding of a building, school or location. In the event we need to coordinate an emergency response, this measure can and will save lives,” Doran said.