In response to reports of officers moving between police departments after facing disciplinary action in one town, a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex) would establish an Employment Application Registry database in the Division of State Police to promote inter-agency transparency. The legislation was advanced by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on Monday.
A recent law passed in July requires law enforcement agencies throughout the state to share disciplinary records of officers who move to another agency. However, law enforcement agencies are not currently required to share information regarding applicants who are initially deemed disqualified for employment.
Under the bill (A-4379), the Superintendent of State Police would be required to establish and maintain an Employment Application Registry database with confidential information about any individual who applies for a law enforcement position and whether an offer of employment is extended to them.
The legislation directs the Attorney General to issue guidelines regarding what would disqualify an applicant from employment. If an applicant is not hired, the reason an offer was not made must be listed in the registry – including whether the applicant was denied due to a failed drug test and/or the aforementioned guidelines.
Every New Jersey law enforcement agency would be required to check the Employment Application Registry prior to making an offer of employment.
Upon the legislation advancing, Assemblywoman Pinkin issued the following statement:
“If an individual does not meet the necessary qualifications to serve in law enforcement, it must be clear to all agencies throughout our state. Closing the gaps in communication will ensure agencies are hiring prospective officers of the highest caliber for the job.
“Right now, a police department in one town may not have access to the same information another department had that led them to turn down an applicant. A statewide application registry would provide a way for police departments to quickly share relevant information with one another.
“This enhanced inter-agency communication will help expedite the employment process while ensuring law enforcement agencies are staffed with highly qualified candidates, which will ultimately prove beneficial for the well-being of all our communities.”