TRENTON ? Legislation sponsored by Senator John A. Girgenti to allow county or municipal law enforcement officers to use stun guns while on duty was approved by the Senate Law, Public Safety and Veterans? Affairs Committee today.
?The use of non-lethal means to subdue prisoners or for crowd control has often been controversial, but there are times when law enforcement needs to temporarily incapacitate people so that they can protect others,? said Senator Girgenti, D-Bergen and Passaic and Chairman of the panel. ?Stun guns, pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and the old fashioned night stick are examples of non-lethal weapons employed by police and military organizations around the world. With proper training, law enforcement officers could properly utilize these tools and be able to quickly retain order when dangerous situations erupt.?
The bill, S-182, would permit a county or municipal law enforcement officer who completes a stun gun training certification program to possess and use a stun gun while in the performance of his duties. The bill would also require an officer to maintain this certification with an annual refresher course in the proper use of stun guns.
?Stun guns provide officers with an option to subdue an unruly subject without firing a gun,? said Senator Girgenti. ?Unfortunately, in the past, there have been cases where New Jersey officers had no other option but to use deadly force. If we can train people on how to properly administer a shock, we can save lives and continue to protect our citizens.?
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
Senator Girgenti also sponsored two firefighter related measures that were also approved by the committee today.
The first bill, S-1851, would require criminal history background checks for paid fire fighters employed by fire districts. The bill now heads to the full Senate for approval.
Under the second bill, S-1854, the surplus lines tax revenue that would go to the local firemen?s relief fund would instead go to the Treasurer of the State Firefighters Association. The bill is intended to codify current practice and now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee before moving to the full Senate for approval.