Keith Aslin, a retired Linden Police officer who formerly headed the Juvenile Aid Bureau, has been hired as a Special Law Enforcement Officer Class III to provide security at the LHS Academy of Science and Technology.
By Gary Miller
Keith Aslin retired from the Linden Police Department less than three years ago, but now he’s back on patrol at Linden High School.
Aslin took his post on Tuesday, Jan. 22, as a Special Law Enforcement Officer (SLEO) Class III providing security at the LHS Academy of Science and Technology.
Aslin served for 28 years with the Linden Police, retiring as a detective lieutenant in charge of the Juvenile Aid Bureau in 2016.
The Board of Education and City of Linden agreed in October to hire retired law enforcement officers to provide security at the city’s largest schools. Aslin is the first to begin working.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better candidate than Officer Aslin,” said Superintendent Danny A. Robertozzi. “As an LHS graduate and former head of the Juvenile Aid Bureau, he knows our schools, he’s familiar with the security procedures, and he’s experienced at working with students. It’s reassuring to have someone so knowledgeable and experienced watching over our students and staff. Welcome back to the Linden Public Schools family!”
The Board of Education began discussing the possibility of hiring retired officers after a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., last year. That was also a galvanizing moment for Aslin.
“I had so much training in this that after the incident in Parkland I wanted to give back a little bit,” he said. “When this came along, it was a good opportunity to come back. I like working in the schools and I like the kids. I’m excited to come back.”
Aslin grew up in Linden, attending School No. 8 and McManus, and graduating from Linden High School in 1983. He graduated from Rutgers University-Newark in 1987 and joined the LPD in 1988.
“As the former Commander of our Juvenile Aid Bureau, Keith has a comprehensive understanding of our schools, and I am confident he will do a tremendous job,” said Police Chief David Hart. “We are very pleased that he decided to use his considerable experience to once again serve our community.”
Before heading the Juvenile Bureau, Aslin was in charge of the Community Policing Unit and taught DARE to elementary school students. He later was instrumental in starting the “Pass the Message On” anti-bias program at LHS, in which older students design creative ways to teach younger students about fighting bias and bullying.
“I’ve always cared about Linden,” he said. “I enjoyed working for the city. I had a great career, and this was just a great opportunity to come back and do what I like.”
New Jersey established the Class III Special Law Enforcement Officer position in 2016. Only retired law enforcement officers are eligible for the position, which authorizes them, on a part-time basis, to provide security on school premises during normal school hours or when occupied by students or staff.
These officers operate under the authority of the local chief of police, and while they have the same authority and duties as regular, full-time police officers while providing school security, they cannot replace regular law enforcement officers or school resource officers currently employed in schools.
Aslin will be working closely with LHS Resource Officer Detective Leon Pastor, a member of the Juvenile Aid Bureau, who works with students on various initiatives in addition to providing security.
“He’s not leaving,” Aslin said. “He’s there for good, and I’m here to help.”
Considering his background, he would also like to be heavily involved with the school.
“Along with the obvious security part, walking around the building, talking with the kids, Dr. Robertozzi’s hope was that I would get involved,” Aslin said. “I told them I’d be willing to teach or whatever they want me to do.
“I missed working with the schools. That was one of the things I enjoyed the most in policing.”