Freeholders to Fund Second School Resource Officer at Vo-Tech High School
Following the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Somerset County Freeholder Director Patrick Scaglione and Freeholder Mark Caliguire have announced that the freeholder board will fund a second armed school resource officer at the county Vocational & Technical High School. The freeholders urged every school district in Somerset County to follow their lead and enhance school security in their communities.
Freeholders Scaglione and Caliguire recently met with Vo-Tech Superintendent Dr. Chrys Harttraft to review security protocols intended to safeguard students and faculty at the county-run facility. The superintendent requested funding for an additional SRO at the Vocational & Technical High School in Bridgewater, in addition to the officer currently in place, to cover daytime and evening hours when students are on campus.
“The shooting at Parkland and the senseless loss of life were appalling and demand action by elected officials at all levels of government,” said Freeholder Director Scaglione. “The presence of well-trained law enforcement officials at our Vo-Tech school is well worth the investment to keep our students and faculty safe. Dr. Harttraft takes security very seriously and is grateful for the additional funding we are providing.”
“I understand that budgets are tight but when it comes to making our schools safer, ‘we don’t have the money’ is not an acceptable excuse. This is about priorities,” said Freeholder Caliguire, who chairs the county finance committee. “Every school district in the county should allocate the resources to fund at least one armed SRO who can provide a line of defense against a school shooter. This issue transcends partisanship and politics. This is common sense and we intend to actively encourage our partners at the local level to join us.”
Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano agreed with the freeholders’ decision to fund a second SRO at the Vo-Tech High School. "The recent spate of school attacks clearly and unfortunately demonstrates why it is necessary for all schools in Somerset County to have school resource officers protecting our children," he said.
Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson also supported the freeholders’ position. "While I have confidence in the current security measures in place throughout the various school districts in this county, there is always room for improvement and the introduction of SROs is something I strongly advocate,” he said.