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Cops in Schools Could Cost $355K Annually if Adopted in Marlboro

The Township Council approved the hiring of special officers to supplement the 90-day cops in schools program.

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.

cynicinmarlboro February 12, 2013 at 01:49 PM
I love all these estimated costs. First the BOE votes on an "estimated" $105K then we have the council voting on further costs for a range of expense. Why all the "estimates" rather than "actual" expenses? And what happened to the residents being told the initial $105K would be all and the matter would be re-evaluated after? There are so many other factors that need to be addressed on school (and personal) safety on a national level rather than keep throwing money on only this one aspect. These expenses are only the start. Of course these costs will continue to rise as contracts call for more and more. This is getting ridiculous. The mayor may want to be "proactive" but it is actually reactive and this whole thing needs to be re-evaluated. I can't wait to see the tax increases to cover the expenses Sandy caused (and which FEMA has only paid part of), let alone the additional expenses for this and how much else? Not everyone in town is doing as well as the mayor. Look for more empty houses shortly as the residents continue to be priced out of town.
DAEBJ February 12, 2013 at 02:10 PM
I love the idea of officers in the schools. I have spent time with them regularly and they are doing a fantastic job. Keep up the good work!
Kaitlyn Anness February 12, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Cynic--in reality, the $300k+ price tag is hypothetical. The program has not been adopted past 90 days, a move that would only be up to the Board of Education, and the matter will be re-evaluated during and after that 90 days.
anonymous February 12, 2013 at 03:23 PM
This is financially unsustainable!!! The original cost estimate was $100,000.00 dollars for 90 days--then it went up to $105,000.00. What about school yards? What about school buses (didn't we just have a kid abducted from a school bus and held hostage for several days in a bunker?) When is the feel-good, knee jerk reaction going to end??? I say: no new taxes; no Dean and Lilonsky getting re-elected; no problem!! To Ms. Mazzola: We see how you conveniently switched parties so you have a better chance on winning; Don't conveniently play with other peoples hard-earned money. We are in the throes of the greatest recession--many people are unemployed and underemployed. Homes in Marlboro are at a record in foreclosure. You should know that--YOU ARE A REALTOR!!! More homes will be placed on the market as people who are currently struggling, will only have to leave for lesser priced digs. The overabudnance of homes on the market, coupled with the economic mess we are currently in, will only degrade the prices of homes--again, you know that: YOUR A REALTOR!! STOP the nonsense now!!!
cynicinmarlboro February 12, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Kaitlyn, with all due respect, seems the council has already made the decision for us. Apparently, the previous plan now in place for the 90 days is not sufficient for them even though the public was told differently back then. There really was no reason for this additional expense at this time.
Kaitlyn Anness February 12, 2013 at 05:03 PM
While it may seem that way, and of course you're entitled to your opinion, I want to make very clear that this is a decision that must be voted on by the Board of Education. The Town Council has no authority over the school district. However, it does have authority over the police department, which is where these 12 new officers were approved. Just a point of clarification, another one of those sticky and confusing situations.
Michael Mirkin February 12, 2013 at 05:50 PM
As a father of two children attending district schools I was not sure if we should have officers in the school or not. Both arguments have their merits but I can tell you I became less convinced of the necessity when my 10 year old daughter turned and said to me not too long ago after seeing a news report of another school shooting in CA "I guess this is going to happen in our school sooner or later". I asked why do you think this going to happen here her response was "Isn't it why we have PO in schools now". if that statement does not speak volumes I dont know what does. But again I am reserving my opinion until this all can be fully digested. One thing I do want to point out from the article "A public hearing garnered no responses at last week's Town Council meeting, as the council unanimously approved hiring 12 new special officers". I think that it was a foregone conclusion that this measure was going to be approved no matter what would have been said or how much opposition the measure would have received. There were plenty of emotions and words of opposition directed at the mayor at the last BOE meeting but the program was passed regardless. I just hate the fact that Mr. Hornik had to take this opportunity to further his own political career and showed up at the BOE meetings as a mayor and not as a concerned father. (contd)
Michael Mirkin February 12, 2013 at 05:50 PM
This goes the same for the council members and his political allies that showed up (cont'd) at the meetings. If in the end PO officers do get placed in the schools on a permanent basis then we need to make sure that the upcoming budget takes that into consideration and that we reallocate the money from the fat UFT/administration benefits to cover these new costs.
anonymous February 12, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Mr. Mirkin, The reallocation of monies is not going to happen. If this does indeed become a permanent detail ( my thoughts are it's a done deal; hence, the hiring of the 12 special officers), you will be asked in a November ballot question to approve such a detail. If the majority of residents approve this--which will raise taxes--it will become permanent for the school year. What a pitiful situation when these resources could have gone to children's programs and the hiring of more teachers If this should rise to being a ballot question, I say get rid of the scoundrels on the BOE that approved this. From what I have read, all school board members approved this plan on a 90 day interim basis.
Michael Mirkin February 12, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Yes thank you I am aware of the fact that this will become a referendum item as was mentioned by the BOE president. One thing that failed to mention in my original post is the question of the 12 police officers that are going to be employed. Since they are retired PO does this employment can be considered as double dipping? They still going to be drawing a pension and retiree benefits plus a salary from the BOE. I would like to see this question answered by the BOE and the council/mayor. Or maybe they are going to argue that they are class II officers and double dipping does not apply.
anonymous February 12, 2013 at 07:30 PM
Double-dipping is not illegal. However, when fraud is utilized to permit double-dipping (like whats mentioned in the below listed hyperlink), then it is illegal. Furthermore, I don't believe "specials" is a New Jersey covered pension position; therefore, there should be no problem with this. http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/14/11690662-gov-christies-pension-issue-nj-probe-looks-at-running-mate-double-dipping
Michael Mirkin February 12, 2013 at 07:57 PM
I think that whether it is legal or not b/c of loopholes is irrelevant. What is relevant whether or not these are covered positions or not. My opinion is that if you carry a gun and a badge employed by a public entity like the BOE and have arrest powers and are collaed a police officer you are a police officer! if it quacks like a duuck its a duck!
cynicinmarlboro February 13, 2013 at 11:12 AM
It seems the decision has already been made. These new cops will be hired by the police dept. as the council gave their approval (with this range of expense rather than an actual, definitive cost), whether or not the BOE will opt for this. You can bet the mayor will make sure it happens one way or the other. In either case we, the taxpayers, will be footing the bill. Still seems a little premature to approve this in town council when the board itself has not made a decision on the next step.
Steve R February 13, 2013 at 01:28 PM
What I find interesting is that there is no one in group doing the assessment who previous to the assessment was against cops in the schools. They gathered a bunch of political cronies who are in favor of the measure to begin with and prance it around as an impartial assessment. Also my quick math has these special officers total comp being around $27 per hour, seems mighty low. The mayor is going to get this through because it helps his political career, no other reason. Having the police department hire officers for a measure that is not even passed makes me believe there are more under the table dealings here than meets the eye
Steve R February 13, 2013 at 01:34 PM
I am glad you do but there are others who don't. Do you not feel it should be put to a vote? Or is that not necessary because you agree with it? I also wonder what doing a fantastic job constitutes? I personally find it difficult to measure since their job is security and the level of security breaches are the same since before they were placed in the schools. How to you reach such a conclusion on effectiveness?

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