Should armed guards protect the schools?
Residents offer different ideas
by Vanessa Cruz
Reporter Staff Writer
Mar 31, 2013 | 4993 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PRO ARMED SECURITY – Don Evanson suggested posting armed security off school property in an attempt to protect students.
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When Secaucus voters cast ballots in the Board of Education election on April 16, they will get to decide on a public question of whether the school district should hire six security personnel to assign to school buildings at a cost of $175,000.

At Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting, resident Don Evanson addressed the issue. He said he interpreted the ballot question to mean the guards are “to provide security for students and faculty against an armed assault on school property.”

Fellow resident and gun owner Tony Aiello disagreed. Evanson suggested that armed protection be available at venues where students congregate, such as the Recreation Center, Secaucus Library, and Teen Center.

“Those armed guards would be a deterrent and protect students and faculty for a combined total of half a million dollars,” said Evanson. “Experience shows that a weapons assault on our students and residents would emanate from a Secaucus resident rather than an out-of-towner.”

Some other cost-effective methods of gun control he mentioned were for Secaucus families with concerns about their firearms to bring them to a secure location like the police station, and for the town to assign a police officer to conduct background checks of known firearms owners to determine if they still meet the New Jersey conditions of ownership and to confirm that their firearm is still in their possession.

“We’re executing our Second Amendment right,” said Aiello. “I think a gun club would be a good way to go. I think people that have experience with weapons should be able to train others. Years ago it was people who had rifles who saved this country and had they not had rifles we wouldn’t be here today.”
“The town of Secaucus is not going to become armed.” – Mayor Michael Gonnelli
Mayor Michael Gonnelli said he respected both points of view, but did not agree with the suggestions both residents were making.

“The town of Secaucus is not going to become armed,” said Gonnelli. “That’s totally out of the question.”

He said the patrolman assigned at the high school, the EMS unit with an armed patrolman available at athletic venues, along with the patrolman assigned to the school zone, would suffice.

Gonnelli added that the patrolman and all other staff, such as bus drivers and crossing guards, carry radios allowing them to get directly in touch with the Police Department.

Ordinances and resolutions

A bond ordinance was adopted for various improvements such as new equipment, machinery and furnishings for the Swim Center in the amount of $80,000, with $4,000 for a down payment.

A bond ordinance was adopted for capital improvements to the new firehouse on County Avenue with a $213,000 down payment with an estimated cost of $4,450,000.

An ordinance for “Flood Damage Prevention” was adopted to put the town in compliance with FEMA regulations so residents can benefit from federal flood insurance after future storms. According to Gonnelli, Hurricane Sandy resulted in 351 damaged homes – 253 minor, 70 major and 28 severe.

Vehicles and equipment will be put up for auction on the website from Friday, March 29 until Wednesday, April 10 and sold “as-is.” The equipment will be a 1996 ELD Bus, minimum bid of $500; 131 Duncan Parking Meters, for a minimum of $50; Besler Dichro Color Computer Enlarger, for a minimum of $10; Micro Film Camera for a minimum of $10; two bar lights for a minimum of $25; nine K-55 radar units for a minimum of $50; and fax machine HP 3100 for a minimum of $5.

A resolution was authorized for a professional service contract with Joyce W. Murray, Esq. to represent the town’s interest in regards to the Meadowlands Tax Share. Her fee is not to exceed $2,500.

The County of Hudson has acquired a Water Truck and has agreed to transfer its ownership to the Town of Secaucus.

A resolution was authorized for the Suburban Essex Joint Insurance Fund Program to assist member municipalities in achieving Police Accreditation Certification, not to exceed $25,000 per member.

A resolution was authorized for a service contract with Archonix Public Safety Software for the Police Department software programs, not to exceed $11,516 for the annual service contract.

Vanessa Cruz can be reached at

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