A public hearing garnered no responses at last week's Town Council meeting, as the council unanimously approved hiring 12 new special officers for the temporary cops in schools program in Marlboro.
The temporary security program, which is at an estimated cost of $105,000 for 90 days, puts one officer in each Marlboro Township school for the duration of a school day. The move was a response to the tragic shootings in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
Councilwoman Carol Mazzola said the program as it stands is costing 1/7 of one cent per person in township taxes to the district and municipality.
"I think that's a very small price to pay to protecr our children and for parents to have peace of mind when they send their children off to school."
If adopted permanently, having one officer per each school would cost anywhere between $305,000 and $355,000 annually.
If the Board of Education decides to keep officers in schools, a budget referendum may be up to the voters to decide on.
During the 90 day program, which was approved and launched in January, the district and the Marlboro Police Department as well as a third party security team will assess the district's current security measures and offer a long term plan.
According to Police Chief Bruce Hall, the 12 come from surrounding towns such as Freehold and Howell, as well as some retired Marlboro officers.
"These retired officers are highly trained and possess the necessary skill sets to perform the task assigned as a Class II Special Officer in our K-8 schools," Hall said in an email to Patch in January.
Hall said in the Feb. 7 council meeting that while the number of new officers is higher than he'd like it to be, it's necessary to keep the hours per officer down.
Currently, off-duty officers are volunteering for positions in the schools. No police officers have been taken off the road for the program, and there are no plans to do so in the future.