Governor Murphy Announces State Efforts to Increase School Safety in New Jersey

Press Contact: Patrick Rigby
Communications@njohsp.gov | 609.584.4392

TRENTON, NJ - Governor Phil Murphy announced on February 20, that his administration is making a coordinated effort with State law enforcement agencies and the New Jersey Legislature to improve school safety in the State in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

“Nearly one week has passed since 17 innocent lives were taken during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” Governor Murphy said. “Enough is enough. While state actions cannot replace the federal reforms that are needed, student safety comes first in New Jersey.”

Governor Murphy announced that law enforcement agencies in New Jersey will make a coordinated effort to improve inter-agency communication and awareness of individuals who potentially pose heightened safety risks. To assess and improve those reporting systems, the Attorney General’s Office announced that it will undertake a comprehensive review of the current reporting systems available to students and other State residents. That review will assess how current leads are followed up on by law enforcement, an effort to avoid possible dangers falling through the cracks.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal also announced that his office will review New Jersey’s school safety directives to ensure that the State’s policies are at the national forefront.

Additionally, the State Police plans to start regular, but unannounced, officer visits to all 107 schools in their areas of responsibility.

New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) Director Jared Maples announced that the agency will expand suspicious activity reporting training to include bus drivers and educators. NJOHSP also recently launched a new Mass Gathering Working Group to address common vulnerabilities at locations where students gather. The Working Group will expand training models to better formulate response strategies for security incidents.

Governor Murphy today also recommitted to working with the New Jersey Legislature to pass commonsense gun reforms including a bill to better limit those with mental illness from being able to purchase firearms. Governor Murphy again repeated his commitment to signing gun safety laws that reach his desk.

For the announcement, Governor Murphy was also joined by Acting Commissioner of Education Lamont Repollet, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police Colonel Patrick Callahan, Acting Commissioner of Children and Families Christine Norbut Beyer, Senate President Steve Sweeney, and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin.                                                  

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The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP), a Cabinet-level agency, was created in 2006. The Director serves as the Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor, and is responsible for leading and coordinating the state’s counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and emergency preparedness efforts while building resiliency throughout the state across all levels of government and the private sector. NJOHSP oversees and distributes discretionary state and federal homeland security and emergency preparedness funds on behalf of New Jersey.  More information about NJOHSP can be found at www.njhomelandsecurity.gov.