TRENTON, NJ -- Legislation sponsored by Senators Linda Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex) and Troy Singleton (D-Burlington) to establish statewide qualifications for all police officer through a licensing program is gaining support as the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee passed the measure in a bi-partisan, unanimous vote on Monday.
More than 40 states across the country use a form of decertification or licensing for law enforcement officers.
"We have taken major steps over recent years – requiring the use of body-worn cameras, enhancing training, and increasing the diversity of our law enforcement agencies – to fortify the relationships between our communities and the law enforcement agencies that serve them. Police licensure is a commonsense next step,” said Greenstein. “Our communities will be better served – and our law enforcement agencies will be better equipped – with a framework for licensure in place.”
Under Senate Bill 2742, an individual would not be able to be employed as a law enforcement officer in New Jersey unless they hold a valid, active license issued in accordance with the bill. A license issued under the bill would expire three years after its date of issuance, before which time the law enforcement officer would be required to apply for a license renewal.
“The creation and implementation of a statewide licensure program for law enforcement officers is essential, as it will set requirements and minimum standards for all police at all levels,” said Singleton. “I truly believe that uniform professional standards will help build public trust and ensure that proper policing is occurring across New Jersey."
The Police Training Commission (PTC) would be able to revoke or deny a license if an officer or applicant is convicted of a crime, an act of domestic violence, or an offense that would preclude the officer or applicant from carrying a firearm.
The proposed statewide program is supported by the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association (NJSPBA) and the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey.
Patrick Colligan, President, NJSBA, has said that the "licensing program will provide transparency to the communities we serve and will hold our officers accountable in order to maintain a high professional standard and provide the due process they deserve,"
The PTC, which establishes statewide law enforcement standards, voted unanimously in June 2020 to create a statewide police licensing program.