New Jersey's 25th Legislative District

Senator Anthony Bucco

Senator Anthony Bucco

Bucco Bill to Protect School Children, Communities Clears Senate Panel

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Legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris) to create a new class of special law enforcement officers to provide security at public and nonpublic schools was advanced by the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.

Sen. Anthony Bucco’s legislation would create “Class Three” law enforcement officers and allow them to provide security in New Jersey schools. (©iStock)

“In moments of grave danger, every minute that our children and teachers go unprotected brings us one step closer to an unfathomable tragedy,” Senator Bucco said. “By passing this bill, we can meet today’s school security challenges and save lives without overburdening taxpayers. I thank my colleagues in the Senate for demonstrating their continued support of this important issue.”

Senator Bucco’s bill, S-86, creates “Class Three” special law enforcement officers comprised of retired-in-good-standing, former full-time New Jersey law enforcement officers younger than 65 years old, who would be authorized to provide security in this state’s public and nonpublic schools, and county colleges.

Under Bucco’s legislation, Class Three officers would be allowed to carry a firearm if they comply with the statutory requirements generally authorizing retired law enforcement officers to carry handguns, including qualifying in the use of a handgun twice a year. Their duties would be limited to providing security at a public or nonpublic school while they are on the school premises during hours when the school is normally in session or when it is occupied by students or their teachers. Additionally, these officers may respond to an offense or emergency off of school grounds that occurs in the officer’s presence while the officer is in route to a school facility.

In the last legislative session a bill sponsored by Senator Bucco passed the Senate 37-0 but wasn’t acted on by the Assembly before the 2014-2015 legislative session ended on January 12, 2016.

“As we embark on a new legislative session, I am eager to reaffirm my commitment to lead the charge in protecting our schools and communities from threats of violence,” Senator Bucco said. “This bill provides a cost-effective avenue for improving security in schools across our state, while allowing full time law enforcement officers to continue to protect the communities they serve. I urge Democrat leaders in the Assembly not to waste another moment, and finally act on this lifesaving legislation.”

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