(TRENTON) – Aiming to ensure integrity, professionalism, and transparency in law enforcement and help rebuild build community trust in the police, Assembly Democrats Verlina Reynolds-Jackson (D-Mercer, Hunterdon), Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen, Passaic), and William Spearman (D-Camden, Gloucester) sponsor a measure that would create a statewide licensure system for law enforcement officers. If enacted, New Jersey will join 44 other states that already have a licensing or decertification program.
The bill (A-4194) would establish the licensure system through the Police Training Commission, which would establish uniform standards of professional conduct for law enforcement officers, minimum standards for licensure, act on initial and renewal applications, and suspend licenses for failure to meet such standards. The measure was approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on Thursday.
To reassure transparency, the measure would also provide increased civilian input by expanding the number of citizens appointed to the Commission to four public members.
Upon committee approval of the measure, Assembly members Reynolds-Jackson, Wimberly, and Spearman issued the following statements:
“Professional licensure would greatly help ensure law enforcement officers uphold the public trust by maintaining high standards of training and proficiency,” said Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson. “Many professions require licensure and are held accountable if they are in violation. The job of law enforcement is as critically important to our communities as the work of doctors and lawyers. This bill would raise the level of professionalism that is required to serve our communities in any situation.”
“The Police Training Commission would have the ability to better monitor officers and take the appropriate action against those who engage in improper conduct under established licensure standards,” said Assemblyman Wimberly. “This bill is a step toward rebuilding trust in our communities.”
“We should always work to enhance transparency and build better relationships between the police and the residents they protect,” said Assemblyman Spearman. “Through this measure, we would be able to hold bad actors accountable for their wrongdoings and ensure that the proper disciplinary actions are pursued.”