Bill Text: NJ S3083 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Imposes minimum age and education requirements for county and municipal law enforcement officers with certain exceptions.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2020-10-29 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Law and Public Safety Committee [S3083 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-S3083-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 3083

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED OCTOBER 29, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  TROY SINGLETON

District 7 (Burlington)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Imposes minimum age and educational requirements for county and municipal law enforcement officers with certain exceptions.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning the qualifications for initial appointment as a county or local law enforcement officer, amending N.J.S.40A:14-122 and supplementing chapter 14 of Title 40A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    N.J.S.40A:14-122 is amended to read as follows:

     40A:14-122.  Except as otherwise provided by law, no person shall be appointed as a member of the police department and force, unless [he] the person:

     (1)   is a citizen of the United States and at least 21 years of age;

     (2)   is sound in body and of good health sufficient to satisfy the board of trustees of the police and firemen's retirement system of New Jersey as to [his] the person's eligibility for membership in the retirement system;

     (3)   is able to read, write, and speak the English language well and intelligently;

     (4)   is of good moral character, and has not been convicted of any criminal offense involving moral turpitude ; and

     (5)   has successfully earned:

     (a)   an associate degree;

     (b)   at least 60 college credits and possesses a minimum of 24 months of satisfactory employment or military service; or

     (c)   a minimum of 30 college credits and served at least 24 months of active duty military service with an honorable discharge; or

     (6)   has served at least 36 months of active duty military service with an honorable discharge.

     The college degree and credits required pursuant to this section shall be obtained from an institution of higher education which is licensed to award academic degrees by the New Jersey Commission of Higher Education, or a similar entity in another jurisdiction. The military service shall have been completed within three years prior to the application to the police department. Nothing in this section shall prohibit a governing body from establishing minimum requirements which are more stringent than those set forth in this section.

     The appointing body, officer or officers of the municipality when authorized so to do, may employ such officers and other personnel for said police department and force as temporary employees in emergencies, or for certain specified parts of the year, as needed.

     Except as otherwise provided by law, any permanent member or officer of such  police department and force who shall be absent

from duty without just cause or leave of absence, for a continuous period of [5] five days, shall cease to be a member  of such police department and force.

(cf: P.L.1971, c.443, s.4)

 

     2.    (New section) Except as otherwise herein provided, a person shall not be appointed as a member or officer of the police department and force in any county pursuant to N.J.S.40A:14-106 unless the person:

     (1)   is a citizen of the United States;

     (2)   is at least 21 years of age; and

     (3)   has successfully earned:

     (a)   an associate degree;

     (b)   at least 60 college credits and possesses a minimum of 24 months of satisfactory employment or military service; or

     (c)   a minimum of 30 college credits and served at least 24 months of active duty military service with an honorable discharge; or

     (4)   has served at least 36 months of active duty military service with an honorable discharge.

     The college degree and credits required pursuant to this section shall be obtained from an institution of higher education which is licensed to award academic degrees by the New Jersey Commission of Higher Education, or a similar entity in another jurisdiction.

     The military service shall have been completed within three years prior to the application to the police department.

     Nothing in this section shall prohibit a governing body from establishing minimum requirements which are more stringent than those set forth in this section.

     Nothing herein shall affect the employment or continuance in office of any person hired as a permanent member or officer of a county police department and force prior to the enactment of this section.

 

     3.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month next following the date of enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes minimum age and educational requirements for new applicants to be law enforcement officers in county police departments and municipal law enforcement departments and permits the adoption of additional education requirements.

     This bill would require applicants to the county and municipal police departments to be at least 21 years of age.

     Under the bill, county and municipal police officers would be required to have an associate degree.  The degree is to be earned from an institution of higher education which is licensed to award academic degrees by the New Jersey Commission of Higher Education, or a similar entity in another jurisdiction.  The bill provides exceptions to this requirement if the person has honorably served in the armed services of the United States or has relevant employment experience.  The bill specifies that the military service must have been completed within three years prior to the application to the police department.

     The bill also permits counties and municipalities to adopt more stringent educational standards for initial appointment to the police department.

     Pursuant to N.J.S.40A:14-122, municipal police department applicants are required to be able to read, write and speak English "well and intelligently."

     Law enforcement officers are highly paid professionals who are accorded great authority and responsibility in our society.  It is in the public interest to increase the minimum educational requirements for those seeking to enter this profession.

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