Township Schools, FTPD Start ‘School Security Initiative’

Program does not include private or charter schools at this time

Additional Franklin Township Police Officers have been deployed to the district’s elementary schools as part of a new “School Security Initiative” announced on Feb. 22.

The program is effective now, said FTPD spokesman Phil Rizzo.

The joint announcement came from FTPD Chief Richard Grammar and schools Superintendent John Ravally.

The program will not only provide additional security, it will allow the children to see the officers in a positive light on a daily basis, according to a press release on the program. “These relationships are what is needed to foster trust and mutual understanding well into the future,” according to the release.

FTPD already supplies School Resource Officers to Franklin High School and Franklin Middle School.

The initiative was spurred by the Valentine’s Day shooting in a Parkland Fla., high school which left 17 students and faculty members dead, according to the release.

“Since the events in Florida, we have been in constant communication with Doctor Ravally and his staff,” Grammar said in the release. “We are dedicated to providing the students of Franklin Township with a safe environment that is conducive to learning.”

Rizzo declined to say how many officers would be assigned to the elementary schools.

“This program is geared to all schools with focus on the elementary schools,” he said in an email. “The program is to enhance security in these schools. For this reason we cannot elaborate further on the specific details of how that will occur.”

As far as whether any additional police officers will have to be hired for the initiative, Rizzo said, “At this point in time, it will not require the hiring of additional officers. That is under review, and will be evaluated at a future date.”

Rizzo also said that the program for now includes only district schools, and not charter or private schools in Franklin.

Expanding the program to more than the district’s schools “might be something we’d have to evaluate at a later time,” he said. “We would have to see how feasible it would be with current staffing, and if it was feasible we would obviously assist.”

“Our intention is to assist any school that needs it,” Rizzo said.

FTPD will continue to work with county, state and federal law enforcement “to obtain up-to-date intelligence and assistance with any evolving issues,” the release said.

Parents are asked to speak with their children about their social media use, according to the release, with the thought in mind that “(p)osts that are deemed to be threatening in nature could potentially expose your child to criminal implications.  Parents are asked to remain vigilant about what their children are posting on social media.”

Anyone with safety concerns, or wishing to report a suspicious person or activity can call FTPD at (732) 873-2300.


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