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NJ Schools Would Have Emergency Alerts Under New Bill [AUDIO]

Lawmakers throughout the nation are still scrambling to draft legislation that might help avert tragic situations like recent the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Vigii in Newtown, Connecticut
Vigii in Newtown, Connecticut (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In New Jersey, an Assemblyman has officially introduced a bill to require public elementary and secondary schools in New Jersey to be equipped with a panic alarm and red emergency light for use in a school security emergency.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to school security emergencies,” says Assemblyman Ralph Caputo. “Directly linking a panic alarm to local law enforcement authorities to enable them to respond quicker is common sense…….People are now arguing about whether they want armed guards at the schools and that discussion should continue. This is something that should be a no-brainer.”

The panic alarm would be a silent security system signal that can be manually activated to signal a life-threatening or emergency situation that requires a response from law enforcement. The alarm would be linked to the nearest police department. It would not be audible inside the school facility. It would not replace existing security systems. It would be in addition to them.

Caputo says, “The alarm can’t be heard. It would not set off a panic, but it would give somebody in the school the opportunity to press that button just like they would in a bank in case of a robbery……..It’s commonplace technology and something that should be done to better protect our children.”

The bill also requires all public and secondary schools be equipped with a red emergency light that is affixed to the exterior of the school building in a highly visible location above or near the front entrance. The light would be linked to the school’s panic alarm so that it turns on when the alarm is activated.

“These are simple steps we can take to bolster school security and prompt an even quicker response from law enforcement,” explains Caputo. “Anything we can do to make our children safer is quite simply the right thing to do.”

Caputo says he’s talked to legislators on both both sides of the political aisle and they all support his bill. He says the police officers he’s spoken with also like the measure.

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