Campus Security Bill Goes To Governor

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TRENTON – Legislation to ensure colleges and universities have plans in place to address on-campus emergencies such as violent attacks or disease pandemics has gone to the governor for his consideration.

The measure (A-2405) would require schools to file with state homeland security and higher education officials comprehensive five-year campus security plans that identify a baseline of preparedness for all potential emergencies.

The bill was approved 80-0 by the Assembly in June and 39-0 by the Senate on Monday.

“Among its provisions, the legislation would require security protocols to spell out a clear delegation of authority and lines of administrative succession, identify and provide for the protection of vital records and spell-out procedures for periodic tests,” said Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex).

“A security plan would undergo an immediate review in the event of an on-campus incident,” said Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “State homeland security and higher education officials also would be authorized to work directly with a school and other agencies to augment any areas of a plan they find to be deficient.”

The measure builds upon the work of the New Jersey Campus Security Task Force created following the April 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech to recommend ways for New Jersey’s colleges and universities to enhance on-campus safety.

The task force’s October 2007 report recommended that the state’s higher education institutions include in their emergency management plans specific protocols and procedures for incidents on campus where a person has a weapon as well as establishing formal relationships with state and local law enforcement and first responders.

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