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Belleville School Board Hires Security Director

The Board of Education trustees select former Belleville police captain and mayor Escott to consult on improving school safety measures in the wake of the Newton school shootings.

The Belleville Board of Education Monday night hired former Belleville police captain and mayor Bill Escott as school security director to improve school safety in the aftermath of the Newton school shooting. 

The changes may include armed school officers, Escott said.

School officials said the details of any changes and improvements to school security cannot be shared with the public because of the need to keep that information away from any potential criminals.

Interim Superintendent of Schools Helene Friedman and School Board President Peter Zangari, Jr. introduced Escott, who talked in general terms about what his role as a consultant will be.

Escott is working without a contract, and the pay rate is still being negotiated, school officials said.

"I first visited with all the school principals to talk about what our safety and security goals are," Escott said. "We are looking at adding armed security officers. I am happy to say that a lot of the immediate concerns are already being addressed. I thank the board for letting me serve the district."

Escott has met with Police Chief Joseph Rotonda and Lt. Victor Mesce about specific changes that may be needed.

Friedman and Zangari said this move was absolutely essential.

"We have to make sure we do everything we can to protect our children," Friedman said. "So we are hiring a security director to consult with us, and we have had talks with our police department. We need to step up our game I want to stress to parents that any concerns you may have, we are going to address."

Zangari said, "It is very important that we do everything we can to protect students. To quote Gov. Christie, I would rather ask for forgiveness than permission. There have already been changes made to make the district safer. The acts that happened in Newtown are horrific, and it is our job to provide protection. Bill Escott, with his experience with the police and security, is a good fit."

For anyone questioning spending money on security, Zangari said, "We cannot afford not to do this."

All the board members said they supported the move, and thanked Escott for joining the district.

Nelson Barrera January 17, 2013 at 01:53 PM
If there is history to be told, why is it in code?? and why not brought up at town and bod meetings so the public is made aware?
Eddie A. January 17, 2013 at 11:58 PM
this town is a disgrace, double dipping, backdoor deals, political s*** bags, Belleville Citizens does not have the right to say anything about it, remember folks taxes are going up, I can't wait to hear the salary how much is going to be...smh
Nelson Barrera January 22, 2013 at 05:53 PM
We voted for what we got!!
john Molnar February 04, 2013 at 01:08 PM
Escotts Resturaunt must not be doing to good.!!
joe March 31, 2013 at 05:41 PM
I think this is a great move and one that is much needed. This will be the trend across the nation and Belleville under the guidance of Bill Escott will set the standards. Bill is perfect for the task. Kudos to the BOE for having the courage to get the job done.

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