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Norcross/Whelan Bill To Help Out-Of-Work Law Enforcement Officers Now Law

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) and Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic) to help get laid-off law enforcement officers back to work sooner and save hiring agencies training-related costs today was signed into law yesterday by Governor Chris Christie.

The law (S-1800/A-207) will allow county sheriff’s departments and state law enforcement agencies to hire laid-off officers without having to utilize Civil Service lists, provided the officer was in good standing as an employee at the time of the lay off. The appointing authority of County Correctional Facilities also will be authorized to hire officers who have been laid off by other county correctional facilities using the same process.

“As the economy rebounds, this will help get law enforcement officers back to work sooner, while at the same time providing public agencies an opportunity to save taxpayer money by hiring officers who already have experience in the field,” said Senator Norcross. “From both a public safety and a fiscal perspective, this just makes sense.”

County and municipal police forces were previously authorized to hire law enforcement officers laid off for economic reasons without utilizing Civil Service lists. The new law extends to other agencies the ability to hire in this manner, including police departments within New Jersey’s nine state colleges or universities, and in the three public research universities: Rutgers University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the University of Medicine and Dentistry. The New Jersey State Police is exempt from the legislation.

“Law enforcement officers sacrifice their safety for ours each day they’re on the job – the least we can do is help make the process of getting back to work a little easier for them,” said Senator Whelan. “Permitting additional agencies to hire without using Civil Service lists will ensure experienced, upstanding officers laid off through no fault of their own are given the leg-up they deserve.”

The law also permits any municipality to rehire a provisional or working field test police officer it has laid off for economic reasons without using Civil Service lists.

The bill was approved in the Senate by a vote of 37-0. It passed by the Assembly by a vote of 77-0.

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