Police Licensing Bill Signed into Law in NJ
Governor Murphy today signed a new bill into law establishing a police licensing program for all New Jersey law enforcement officers.
The new law requires all law enforcement officers to hold a valid, active license issued by the Police Training Commission (PTC) in order to be employed as police officers in the State of New Jersey.
Governor Murphy first proposed this legislation in May 2022 and the bill quickly moved through both the Senate and Assembly.
With the new law in place, New Jersey becomes the 47th
state in the nation to establish a police licensing program.
The Police Training Commission (PTC), which establishes statewide law enforcement standards, voted unanimously in June of 2020 to create the statewide police licensing program, following the more than 40 states across the country that already use a form of decertification or licensing for police officers.
The police licensing program will require all police officers to meet certain uniform professional standards to become, or continue to be, active law enforcement officers in the State of New Jersey.
The new law grants the PTC the ability and responsibility to monitor and take action against the licenses of any police officer who acts outside the bounds of professional standards or engages in illegal or improper conduct.
Conduct that would result in the revocation or non-issuance of a police license includes:
- Conviction of any crime in NJ, or any other state, territory, country, or of the U.S.
- Conviction of an act of domestic violence.
- Conviction of any offense that would preclude an officer from carrying a firearm.
- Two or more motor vehicle offenses for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or two or more motor vehicle offenses for reckless driving.
- Being an active member of a group that advocates for the violent overthrow of the government or for discrimination based on classes protected by the Law Against Discrimination (LAD).
- Conduct or behavior in the officer’s personal or professional life such as making statements, posting, sharing, or commenting in support of any posting, on social media, or otherwise, that demonstrates, espouses, advocates, or supports discrimination or violence against, or hatred or bias toward individuals or groups based on race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other protected characteristic under the “Law Against Discrimination.”
Officers will be subject to renew their licenses every three years after issuance.
Professional licensing is used in various other contexts and occupations, including for teachers, doctors, electricians, and counselors, to name a few. These occupations are subject to licensing requirements that provide the public with appropriate assurance of professionalism, qualifications, and accountability.