It's a tale of two townships, and their different responses to school safety in the wake of the Newtown, Ct. massacre.

Question: which approach would you prefer…to have a police officer stationed in each school district wide; or to have police patrolling the district, and stopping at each school to check on things.

These are the contrasting approaches neighboring townships Marlboro are Manalapan are taking in the wake of Newtown.

Marlboro’s mayor Jon Hornick has proposed having a cop in each school.

The Township of Marlboro is apparently the first community in the nation to assign armed police officers at their schools in reaction to the massacre in Newtown, CT.
According to reports in Marlboro-Colts Neck Patch, and The New York Post, each of Marlboro’s 9 schools will have a cop on guard when they reopen on January 2.
Additionally, digital video cameras will be installed in all school facilities to be monitored by the police department.

“We’ve seen a new evil and we need to deal with it,” Mayor Jon Hornik said in a phone interview with MMM, “This is like 9-11. We’ve seen airport security change. Now we have to change school security and do it quickly.”

Board of Education Vice President Victoria Dean said that the board authorized the funding of police officers in the schools for 90 days while they evaluate long term options.

“This is not the long term solution,” said Dean, “we want to prevent the possibility of a Sandy Hook copy cat and to ease the fears of our residents.”

Both Hornik and Dean said that Marlboro had made this decision prior to NRA President Wayne LaPierre’s call for cops in all schools nationally at his news conference on Friday. Marlboro’s new school safety policy was posted on the board’s website on Thursday. Hornik said he is not an NRA supporter and believes that assault weapons and ammunition should be banned, “but we have to protect our kids.”

However, this approach is counter to what many public officials, including Gov. Chris Christie has said on a recent “Ask the Governor” broadcast, saying, among other things that arming schools would not make them safer.

In contrast is the proposal neighboring township Manalapan is offering, where two Special II officers will be hired to patrol Manalapan schools.

The Manalapan Township Committee approved the hiring of two new Special II Police Officers who will focus their attention on Manalapan-Englishtown schools in light of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

Christopher Makwinski and Christopher Oleksy will join the Manalapan Township Police Department as part-time Special II Officers. In addition to the usual Special II duties, Makwinski and Oleksy will patrol the school properties and stop inside the school buildings periodically. They will be patrolling in highly visible marked police vehicles. Full-time police officers will also continue to include school visits while patrolling.

Township Committeeman and Police Department liaison Jordan Maskowitz explained that Special II Officers are only a few specialized training courses shy of becoming a full-time police officer. They are trained at the Monmouth County Police Academy, are authorized to carry a weapon, and have full police powers, Maskowitz said.

Members of the Township Committee and Manalapan Police Department Captain Mike Fountain met with representatives from every school in Manalapan on Thursday, Dec. 20 to discuss school safety concerns. Fountain imparted his knowledge about security protocol and helped the school representatives make sure that their safety procedures are reliable.

For parents concerned with the safety of their children, the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District Board of Education is hosting a public hearing on school security on January 15, 2013 at 7 p.m. within the Manalapan-Englishtown Middle School auditorium.

The Manalapan approach looks to be a measured response…whereas the Marlboro approach, while seeming “knee jerk”…actually seems to give the parents a heightened sense of security.

I have said before…in the wake of the shooting…I'd prefer to have a police officer stationed in each school...perhaps a retired police officer.

But you do wonder what will stop any crazed gunman from attempting the same deadly deed perpetrated by Adam Lanza a couple of weeks ago>