PLEASANTVILLE — The city’s schools will be getting the heightened security for which parents and concerned residents have recently been asking.
That security will come in the form of two Class III officers from the Pleasantville Police Department.
City Council passed a resolution Wednesday authorizing the use of the officers in the school district by entering into an agreement with the Board of Education. The school board took a similar action Tuesday, voting to enter into an agreement with the city as part of its collective vote on district finance agenda items.
Pleasantville Public Schools will reimburse the city for the officers’ radios and uniforms, including their vests and body armor. The district also will pay for the gasoline for the officers’ car, which will in turn be provided by the city.
Police Chief James Williams told The Press of Atlantic City on Thursday that the department was conducting background checks on two applicants for the new Class III positions. If they pass that, the applicants will then have to pass a medical evaluation and demonstrate firearm qualifications.
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Williams said Class III officers work 40 hours per week and exercise authority on school grounds. One must be a retired New Jersey police officer to qualify for the position.
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The decisions of the board and council follow a town hall in which police officials and then board President Julio Sanchez discussed the need for improved security in the district and explored the possibility of stationing officers on school grounds.
Residents for months had raised concerns about violence impacting children in the district, with some raising concerns that security-camera quality and security-staffing levels were not sufficient to keep students safe.
They were especially concerned with the assault of a young girl as she was going to school, although the assault occurred off school grounds.
Police officials have previously said the department stations officers around school grounds during drop-off and dismissal times.
Contact Chris Doyle