Post-Parkland, local N.J. officials call for a police officer in every school

Abraham Lopez

WESTAMPTON, NJ — Last week’s deadly shooting rampage at a Parkland, Florida high school has reignited a national debate over how best to safeguard America’s softest domestic targets from mentally ill killers and ideological terrorists alike.

Westampton Township Committeewoman Maureen Smith-Hartman and Committeeman Abraham López of Burlington County, New Jersey, believe that the first step should be obvious.

“We must do everything possible –now- to protect and defend our school children, teachers and staff at our respective schools, including Rancocas Valley Regional High School.” said López, who also serves as a deputy chief of staff for former Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno. “We respectfully request, therefore that our sister towns join us in implementing a program that immediately installs a police officer in each of our schools and that each of our municipalities conduct an evaluation of each school’s current security measures and procedures.”

The pair of Republican officials say they’re reaching out to officials and residents in neighboring communities – including Westampton, Lumberton, Eastampton, Mount Holly and Hainesport – in order to figure out the best path forward.

Newly-minted Democrat Governor Phil Murphy’s public pronouncements have focused solely on enacting new gun control measures, but New Jersey already claims among the toughest gun control laws in the nation.

Former Governor Chris Christie also opposed an armed presence in New Jersey schools but a growing number of New Jersey school districts are acting independent of the state.