You may see uniformed men and women helping direct traffic at parades, fairs, and special events in your town or they may be called on during storm response. These individuals are often auxiliary police officers and typically serve on a volunteer-basis.
To help standardize the training these auxiliary members receive across the state and bolster pathways to possible careers as law enforcement officers, Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin introduced legislation (A-2276) on Monday.
“Our auxiliary police officers provide essential support to law enforcement throughout New Jersey communities,” said Speaker Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “This legislation would further professionalize the work these men and women do on a volunteer basis, recognizing that many develop foundational skills for full-time careers in law enforcement and may want their time and dedication to count in their favor.”
Specifically the bill would require the Police Training Commission (PTC) to establish basic training requirements for auxiliary police, and to approve and authorize schools for training.
“Creating uniformity across the training that auxiliary officers receive expands the pool from which municipalities and counties can take on volunteers, which can be critical in meeting the evolving public safety needs of communities,” said Coughlin.
Enabling on-the-job experience to count towards a potential career in law enforcement, auxiliary police would also be eligible to receive an additional three to 10 service credits on their Civil Service examination scores under the bill.
The service credit would only be added to a passing score of an auxiliary police officer who has successfully completed a PTC-approved basic police-training course.
“Service as an auxiliary officer can be akin to an internship where young people discover whether work in the demanding law enforcement field is the right fit. Similarly, the experience can serve as a proving ground for law enforcement agencies to screen their future applicant pool,” said Coughlin. “This is especially crucial at a time when we’re hoping to boost the number of applicants to law enforcement occupations.”
The bill has been referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.