Grant will put officer in schools

PLUMSTED — The township is one of three Ocean County municipalities that will be receiving a federal grant that will pay for a police officer who will be specifically assigned to patrol in and around the community’s schools.

The United States Department of Jus-tice Community Oriented Policing Ser-vices (COPS) grant, in the requested amount of $125,000, will cover the police officer’s salary and benefits for three years. After that, the township will pick up the officer’s salary and benefit costs.

Mayor Ronald Dancer said the $125,000 grant was pursued by the Township Committee because, "The safety of our children and security of our schools is a priority with the committee and Board of Education members."

"School resource officers are more than a police presence, they combine the functions of law enforcement and education by teaching crime prevention and substance abuse classes, mentoring troubled students and building respect between law enforcement and education," the mayor said.

According to Dancer, the COPS program awarded a total of $122.7 million to hire police officers for patrol in and around schools in 47 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

He said Plumsted was one of 501 municipalities in the country to be awarded. Dancer said the committee owed thanks to Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) for his personal efforts in helping to secure this grant for Plumsted, as well as to the school board members and administrative staff.