TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Fred Madden that would change the Department of Environmental Protection’s law enforcement officers’ official title to “conservation police officer” was passed by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today.
Currently, the Department of Environment Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife refers to their law enforcements officers as “conservation officers”, a title that does not fully reflect the nature of their position.
“The duties and responsibilities of conservation officers have evolved from the traditional game and fish warden role throughout the years,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden/Gloucester). “The dangers these officers face are the same dangers that any other armed and uniformed police officer faces. This bill would bring recognition to the police nature of their work and the increased responsibilities these officers handle on a daily basis.”
The bill, S-2511, does not change any specific aspects of employment for the officers. They are already authorized to carry weapons and it does not impact any job benefits. The bill is solely intended to recognize the police nature of their work and to enable conservation officers to qualify for law enforcement grant programs.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 3-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.