Lawrence Township raises pay for Class III special law enforcement officers. The higher salary makes the township more competitive.
Aiming to attract candidates to work as Class III special law enforcement officers in the township schools, the Lawrence Township Council has raised the hourly pay from $29.70 per hour to $36.
The Township Council approved the ordinance at its April 18 meeting, following a public hearing on the ordinance. There are currently four Class III officers, and a vacancy for a fifth Class III officer.
The hike in the hourly pay was needed because Lawrence Township was paying less than other towns in New Jersey, Municipal Manager Kevin Nerwinski said. The higher salary will make Lawrence Township more competitive, he said.
The Class III special law enforcement officer position was created under legislation signed by former Gov. Chris Christie in 2016. The goal was to beef up security in the schools.
Class III special law enforcement officers are retired police officers. They wear a special uniform and carry a gun. Their role is to provide security and to be a liaison between the schools and the police department.
The Class III officers to do not teach classes, they do not discipline students and they do not investigate incidents. They are hired to provide a visible presence in a school. School administrators are in charge of the school building.
Lawrence Township has four Class III special law enforcement officers.
Three of the Class III special law enforcement officers are assigned to Lawrence Township public schools, in a joint arrangement between Lawrence Township and the Lawrence Township Public Schools.
A fourth officer is assigned to Notre Dame High School, which pays his full salary. Officer Chris Jackson is a retired East Windsor Township police officer.
Officer Rick Doldy is assigned to the Lawrence Middle School and Officer Mike Cseremsak is assigned to Lawrence Intermediate School. Doldy is a retired Lawrence Township police officer and Cseremsak is a retired Hopewell Township police officer.
Officer George Henderson is assigned to all four elementary schools on a rotating basis. He is a retired Mercer County sheriff’s officer.
There is a vacancy for a second Class III special law enforcement officer to assist Henderson to provide more protection for the elementary schools, officials said.
Also, Lawrence Township Police Officer Steve Austin is assigned to Lawrence High School as its school resource officer, which is a different position than the Class III special law enforcement officer. Austin is a fulltime police officer with the Lawrence Township Police Department.