Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne P. DeAngelo, Tim Eustace, Pamela R. Lampitt, Whip Wilson and Sgt. Bob Andrzejczak that would require combat veterans to be considered priority candidates among applicants to the New Jersey State Police was approved 35-0 Monday by the Senate, giving it final legislative approval.
The bill (A-1510) would give otherwise qualified candidates who have served in the military preference for employment at the statewide law enforcement agency, a practice already in place for civil service positions at the state, county and municipal level.
“Above all else, it is the duty of our police officers to safeguard the rights of New Jersey’s citizens,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “I can think of no group of men and women more qualified to carry out that mission than those with a proven record of honorably putting themselves in harm’s way in defense of these very rights.”
“This bill will help to ensure that veterans can find work when they return home and to develop the best possible police force,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “To say that New Jersey’s veterans are up to the job is simply an understatement.”
“Our state’s veterans have willingly sacrificed so much and asked for absolutely nothing in return,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “There is surely no way to repay them for that. But the very least we can do is give them the opportunity to do in New Jersey what they do best – serve.”
“Having served in the U.S. Air Force, I know first-hand that the level of training and discipline instilled in our veterans makes them ideal candidates for the State Police,” said Wilson (D-Gloucester/Camden), who was a member of the Camden Police Department for 26 years. “As a legislator, a former law enforcement officer and a Vietnam vet, I am proud to stand behind this bill.”
“If I could choose who would come to my family’s rescue in an emergency, I would select the men and women with whom I served overseas without hesitation,” said Andrzejczak (D-Cape May/Atlantic/Cumberland), an Army veteran who lost a limb while serving in Iraq. “Our state’s veterans display an unparalleled level of discipline and embrace an unmatched sense of duty. This legislation will help ensure that more of these distinguished individuals have the opportunity to continue serving by protecting our state’s residents here at home.”
The bill passed 78-0 on Thursday in the Assembly. It now heads to the governor’s desk.