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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Police News  >  New Jersey Academy Certification Extended from 3 to 5 Years

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New Jersey Academy
Certification Extended from 3
to 5 Years for Laid Off Officers
Police and Law Enforcement News
Monday, January 16, 2012  6:35 a.m.

New Jersey  -  A long awaited bill, S2731, was finally signed into law last week by Governor Chris Christie, and it should give New Jersey's laid off law officers something to be thankful for as we head into the new year.


The Police Training Act, under C.52:17B-68, is where New Jersey first established the Police Training Commission and where New Jersey police training requirements are set forth. 

Until now, a full academy certification, sometimes referred to as a Class A certification, was good for a period of three years.  This new law extends the length of the certification from three years to five years for officers who were separate from employment due to a layoff.

This change will greatly benefit officers who have been laid off during the recent economic downturn.  Previously, if an officer had been laid off and was out of law enforcement for more than three years, he or she would have had to repeat the police academy.  Under the amended law, certification will last for five years. 

Below is the newly added text:

A police officer who is terminated from an agency for reasons of economy or efficiency shall be granted an exemption or waiver from retaking the basic training course if, within five years from the date of termination, the police officer is appointed to a similar law enforcement position in another agency or is reemployed by the agency from which he was terminated. (cf: P.L.1971, c.321, s.2)

Jim Racanelli from The Loyal Order of Police, a New Jersey based organization which advocates for laid off officers, commended the change but said it didn't go far enough.  He told, "I think it is wonderful that they are passing this new law, which is consistent with the rehiring lists (ie. Rice Bill which lasts for 60 months) which never made sense if you lose training after 36 months." 

But Racanelli questions why nothing was done to require agencies to hire laid off officers first or eliminate the residency provisions which have prevented some laid off officers from pursuing a potential opportunity.

Racanelli is also critical of the fact that police academies are still training new recruits while hundreds of laid off officers are still without jobs.  (A 2008 editorial took exception with this very same issue)

"The order to be hired should preserve academy training and take people who have already exhausted their unemployment benefits or would be first to lose them and were first to be laid off,"  Racanelli said.  "Plenty of PD's have hired, mostly off the street and the ones that hired laid off guys did not follow any [statewide, uniform] procedure and didn't advertise.  You only hear of the hiring after it happens."

Frustration among the laid off ranks is growing.  The Loyal Order of Police website has been critical of departments who are hiring fresh applicants rather than one of the hundreds of laid off officers and took particular exception on their website to a recent hiring announcement by the Tinton Falls Police Department.

The rate at which officers are being laid off throughout New Jersey has slowed, but not stopped.  Lakewood PBA Local 71 was just given an ultimatum of wage freezes or layoffs.  Other locals and lodges are facing similar situations.

A copy of the actual law, S2731, can be found here.

The Loyal Order of Police website can be found here.

To discuss this article in the forum, click here.



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