New Jersey District Boosts Security Following Arrest of Armed Man Outside Elementary School

New Jersey District Boosts Security Following Arrest of Armed Man Outside Elementary School

Westfield Public Schools is implementing extra security measures through the end of the school year following the arrest last week of an armed man outside of Tamaques Elementary School.

Westfield Public Schools is implementing extra security measures through the end of the school year following the arrest last week of an armed man outside of Tamaques Elementary School.

The extra security measures include a police presence in and around campuses, and the middle and high school graduations this week will also have increased security, according to Superintendent of Schools Margaret Dolan and Board of Education President Peggy Oster.

At about 3:53 p.m. on June 13, the Westfield Police Department responded to Tamaques Elementary School to locate an individual “in crisis,” according to Westfield Police Chief Christopher Battiloro.

"Officers Jeffrey Johnson and Michael Pollock subsequently located the individual in question. He was seated in a parked vehicle, directly opposite the school's main entrance and was armed with a .45 caliber handgun fully loaded with hollow point bullets," Battiloro wrote in a post on the Westfield Police Department’s Facebook page. "The subject was disarmed and taken into custody by officers Johnson and Pollock without incident. Two additional fully loaded magazines were located on his person and an additional 130 rounds of ammunition were later located in the vehicle's truck.”

The suspect is scheduled to make his first court appearance Wednesday.

According to Battiloro, the school day was over but about 30 students were still in the building attending after-school programs.

"Each was taken into protective custody while the interior and exterior of the school was searched for additional weapons and/or other possible evidence," he wrote.

In their statement about the incident, Dolan and Oster said that the incident occurred after school when different security procedures are in place. They said the difference will be addressed immediately.

"Doors at each of our 10 schools will remain locked beyond school hours through the end of the school year, as we begin a formal review. School administrators and law enforcement will meet this week with the district's security consulting firm, StoneGate Associates, to begin a comprehensive examination," Dolan and Oster said.

"While no community is immune to acts of violence, please know that we remain firmly committed to taking all necessary precautions to keep Westfield school safe," the statement read. They said that work would continue during the summer to address the district’s security procedures and policies.

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