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(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly members Connie Wagner, Craig J. Coughlin and Elease Evans allowing certain police officers who have been terminated from retaking the police training course as long as the officers have been employed for five years from the date of their termination received final legislative approval Thursday.

“This bill would make the job hunting process easier for these police officers,” said Wagner (D-Bergen). “Given the current economic times, our police officers should not have to worry about taking a course they have already gone through, in addition to finding a job.”

The bill (A-3876) would exempt police officers who were laid-off for economic or efficiency reasons from retaking the basic police training course, if they are rehired by their former agency or find a job with a new agency within five years from the date their employment was terminated. Under the current Police Training Commission policy, a police officer who has a break in service of more than three years is required to retake the basic training course.

“We all know how tough it can be to secure a job in the current economic climate,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex). “This will help police officers focus on the job search, without a timeline hanging over their heads.”

“Many of our police officers have lost their jobs as towns struggle to cut down costs,” said Evans (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This measure will allow our officers to get back to the important job of public safety, without worry of having to retake a course they already took.”

The bill was approved 70-0 by the Assembly on Thursday, and 35-0 by the Senate in April. It now heads to the governor’s desk.