JACKSON TWP.: In an effort to increase security in all six district buildings, Jackson schools will help pay the salaries of two part-time Jackson Township police officers.
The district already employs a resource officer in the high school, and patrol officers also have attempted to visit other schools while on duty. But law enforcement and school officials long have wanted to add a more regular police presence to buildings for more of the school day, and this agreement will enable that, they said this week.
“This is going to give us the ability to fulfill security needs at all the schools,” police Chief David Zink said.
Two officers already on the police department staff will be added to the schools. Each will have an office at the middle school and will divide their time among all of the buildings. They will work up to 28 hours a week.
“Safety is a main concern here at the schools,” Superintendent Chris DiLoreto said at the school board meeting Tuesday at Jackson Middle School.
Zink and DiLoreto are working together to enable the part-time officers to continually be present in the schools. They are discussing what percentage of the officers’ salaries the school district will be responsible for paying.
The officers will not begin duty until the salary issue is decided.
Zink said the school shootings in Newton, Conn., made the collaboration more important than ever.
“Having the officers there will increase response time and may serve as a deterrent for bad behavior,” the chief said.
The officers will work with school district personnel as a classroom resource in the areas of law-related education, violence diffusion, safety programs, drug and alcohol prevention, crime prevention and counseling.
The district is composed of Jackson high and middle schools and four elementary buildings for grades K-5. Total enrollment is about 5,800 students.