Police Presence Will Be Up in Kinnelon Schools
Superintendent said officers should serve as comfort to parents, not a concern.
Elected officials and school leaders have been meeting with police to talk about the safety and security of Kinnelon's youth since the days that followed the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. in which 20 children were killed. At a recent Kinnelon Council meeting, Mayor Robert Collins said the protocols and procedures already in place in the school district were being reviewed again to ensure safety of the entire school community.
Collins said he had met with DiGiuseppe and asked her to talk to the Kinnelon Board of Education about safety measures the district could implement and to come back to the Kinnelon Council with action items. The mayor said Kinnelon Police Chief John Finkle had been working with Councilman Gary Moleta to evaluate the benefits of having a School Resource Officer.
"A number of schools have gone to the lengths of putting armed officers in their schools," Collins said.
The solution the Kinnelon district has come up with in the meantime seems to combine some of what other districts are doing, but DiGiuseppe said the officers' presence should comfort parents.
"As a result of the ongoing security discussions between the district and the Kinnelon Police Department, the Kinnelon police will be making regular random visits to our schools," DiGiuseppe said in a Textcaster message. "Officers will be in and around the buildings with greater frequency than in the past and we would like to alert you of this so that their presence is a comfort rather than a concern."
Collins said that while safety is always at the top of the minds of school administrators and borough leaders, the Newtown shooting was "exceptionally disturbing because of the age of the students," all kindergarteners.
"These kids, I use that term loosely, were so innocent, it magnifies the gravity of what transpired," he said.
Having officers in the schools is not a new concept for Kinnelon, as police have come in to talk to students as part of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) progam for years.
"We welcome and appreciate Chief Finkle and the KPD officers' offer to assist us in creating a more secure school system and welcome their presence," DiGiuseppe said.
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