After school shooting, NJ troopers visiting 107 schools
In the wake of the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy says a coordinated, multi-level effort is underway to improve security at New Jersey schools.
That includes State Police visiting more than a hundreds schools in their jurisdiction as local school boards consider hiring armed police officers to guard buildings.
“We are doing everything we can. We’re both learning from what’s happened in these awful tragedies, we’re learning from some false alarms in our own state," Murphy said Tuesday during a news conference.
The Democratic governor also vowed to work with lawmakers to pass additional gun control legislation, including a measure to prevent those who are mentally ill from purchasing firearms.
He said what we need is a "multi-level game of chess" approach.
“There’s not one magic wand here. This is a series of steps that need to be taken to close gaps and to lower probabilities and mitigate against potential.”
State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said his office will begin a comprehensive review of school safety protocols and drills to make sure they’re being carried out in the best way possible.
State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan said state troopers will soon be visiting 107 schools in areas of New Jersey that do not have local police departments and are patrolled by the State Police to help students feel more comfortable with them and share information about possible problems.
And state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Jared Maples announced that his agency will ramp up efforts to prevent a tragedy from taking place.
“We will expand innovative efforts such as suspicious activity reporting training for school bus drivers and educators,” he said.
“We will innovate our support for first responders by expanding capabilities to create waves of first preventers.”
He also said his office will take a whole-of-government approach under existing task forces “to provide comprehensive active shooter training, including pre-incident indicators and pathways to report those indicators.”
When asked if the time had come to mandate metal detectors and a police presence at all New Jersey schools, Murphy said those decisions need to be made at a local level.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com