Lakewood Ups Police Presence In, Around Schools [AUDIO]
It's been almost three months since the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy. Ever since those innocent lives were taken, schools all across the country and the state continue to work on plans to make things safer for students, faculty, staff and administrators.
While there have been several methods used at various districts, schools in Lakewood Township are about to become a little more secure - thanks to a new initiative by the police department.
Over the last month Chief Robert Lawson has met with Mayor Al Ackerman and Police Liaison Meir Lichtenstein on how to improve school security within district area schools and private facilities. Lawson has developed a plan based on educating the school staff and improved police patrols throughout the neighborhoods near schools and school grounds. Lawson is instructing the department's patrol officers to increase their presence around schools.
Additionally, the Lakewood Police Department is in the process of having two police officers trained in school security. These officers are receiving training approved by the New Jersey Department of Education and the New Jersey Department of Homeland Security. Starting in the Spring, these officers will be available to come to schools and instruct administrators, teachers and staff on how to perform the four state mandated security drills.
Lawson says, "They include lock downs with an active shooter, shelter in place, bomb threat and evacuation."
While Lawson says he would like to have a full time officer in all of the schools around town, it wouldn't be possible.
He explains, "There are just too many in the district and over 80 private schools. We don't have the staff, the resources, the funds. However, we feel this plan will most certainly help keep children safe. The patrolmen will also be stationed around the community out in school parking lots as a deterrent from time to time."
The drill education program will begin in the Spring. The extra patrols start in a matter of days.