Youmans is a veteran of the JCPD, from which he retired as a lieutenant after 28 years. He then spent another 15 years working in the private sector as director of campus security at St. Peter’s University.
“I look forward to serving the people of Jersey City once again, particularly our children,” said Director Youmans. “I’m fortunate to be stepping in with a vital resource such as an assessment already initiated by Dr. Lyles. We must be proactive and implement a comprehensive security and safety plan that addresses the current day risks and challenges and makes our schools the safest learning environments possible.”
The security assessment Youmans referred to was recently conducted by the private security firm Strike Force. The manner in which this assessment was carried out by Strike Force personnel was criticized by parents and school security staff, who alleged that security personnel was not notified that such an assessment would be undertaken.
While a spokesperson for the school district admits that Strike Force personnel was armed at the time of the security assessment, Superintendent of Schools Marcia Lyles and one member of the School Board, Sangeeta Ranade, have repeatedly insisted that security staff was indeed notified that Strike Force would be making visits to various schools in the district.
Strike Force has since resigned from working with the Jersey City School District.
Despite the controversy, Youmans will use the report drafted by strike Force, “Exterior Perimeter Facility Vulnerability Assessment,” to revise the district’s security protocols. According to district spokeswoman Maryann Dickar, the report recorded more than 200 potential security problems at 29 schools, and made security recommendations for the city’s six public high schools.
Some of the observations cited included unsecured doors, windows, and gates; dozens of instances of broken or inadequate lighting; instances of trespassing; student behavior issues such as fighting; traffic control issues; and the need for additional security cameras in high risk areas.
According to Dickar, the district is responding to these observations and is in the process, with guidance from Youmans, of developing a plan to address the need for additional security systems.