EAST AMWELL — The Hunterdon County Sheriff's Office is providing armed security for three schools in the area as a stopgap measure.

The schools include the East Amwell School District, Hunterdon County Vocational, and Delaware Valley Regional High School.

Sheriff Frederick Brown told New Jersey 101.5 that the schools are in the process of hiring Class III Special Law Enforcement Officers. These armed, retired cops have most of the same powers as full-time officers but they serve only the school. They must also have retired within the last three years of their hiring date.

Until they are sworn in, the sheriff's office has agreed to provide its own officers to the schools.

The vocational school was chosen as it is operated by the county, according to Brown. He added that East Amwell, which is a single school that serves pre-K through grade 8, and the high school in Frenchtown also requested officers from the sheriff as they are located in municipalities that do not have their own police departments. Brown said that the State Police approved of the plan.

“I am proud to be able to offer this important SLEO III officers’ program to schools in need of this service throughout Hunterdon," Brown said.

Hiring retired police officers has become an increasingly common method of securing schools from outside threats. In June, Middletown in Monmouth County and Middle Township in Cape May County approved putting SLEOs in schools in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas massacre that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at richard.rickman@townsquaremedia.com

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