A bipartisan bill establishing a new class of police officers to provide security to schools and county colleges sailed through the state Senate February 11. The measure, S-86 (Bucco/Sweeney) would create a new “class three” special law enforcement officer. Under the bill, retired officers under 65 who previously worked full time or others could be hired under the new class. The new class would be permitted to carry a firearm if the officer meets the statutory requirements for retired officers to carry handguns. Individuals must also qualify to use a firearm twice a year.
The class three officers would be allowed to respond to off-campus incidents or emergencies if the events occurred in their presence while en-route to school The measure passed by a vote of 34-0. The Senate passed a similar measure during the last legislative session but it was never voted on by the Assembly.
The bill has the support of the major education and law enforcement communities including, NJSBA, NJASA, NJPSA, NJFOP and NJPBA. An identical bill, A-1244 (Bucco/ Ciattarelli) has been introduced and referred to the Assembly education committee for consideration.