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NJ Colleges And Universities Ramp Up Security Efforts [AUDIO]

Governor Christie recently signed a bill that requires each of New Jersey’s 66 colleges and universities to file a five year campus security plan with state health, homeleand security and higher education officials.

Flickr User Kristen Byers

Monmouth University President Paul Gaffney, who chairs the Campus Safety & Security Council, says it would better prepare schools for any potential disaster or emergency.

“A single shooter on a campus like the Virginia Tech scenario, a chemical spill, a fire, a robbery, a disease, a weather event like a Hurricane or big storm.”

The bill builds upon recommendations made by the New Jersey Campus Security Task Force, which was created in the wake of the April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech shootings that left 33 people dead.

The New Jersey College and University Public Safety Association also started a peer review assessment, in which each college would answer a number of questions about its campus public safety operations and provide copies of documents to certain authorities.

“The checklist is about 140 questions developed by experts in the law enforcement, safety and mental health area and I think we are one of the only states in the nation currently doing this. Its great to look at one school and see what plans they have in place and then take notes at the next school to see what they are doing differently. We really learn a lot from each other and this peer review is becoming a model for the country” said Gaffney.

Schools will conduct periodic drills and plans must be reviewed and re-approved every five years.

In a 2010 published list of the most dangerous campuses in the country, more than a dozen New Jersey schools were on it including Princeton University, Ramapo College, and Rowan University.

“Any time we can take another step forward in terms of safety, is always a good thing” said Gaffney.

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