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
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 NJLawman.com, "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
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.
NJLawman.com 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
their website to a recent hiring announcement by the Tinton Falls
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
The Loyal Order of
Police website can be found
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