Expands Eligibility Requirements to Allow More Retired Law Enforcement Officers to Protect NJ Schools
Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation sponsored by Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25) to expand the categories of those who are eligible to serve as Class Three officers, a special class of retired-in-good-standing law enforcement officers who provide security at New Jersey’s schools and county colleges.
Gov. Murphy has signed Sen. Anthony Bucco’s school security bill expanding the categories of those who are eligible to serve as Class Three officers, a special class of retired-in-good-standing law enforcement officers who provide security at New Jersey’s schools and county colleges. (Flickr)
Bucco was the sponsor of the 2016 law that created class three officers, vastly expanding opportunities for local municipalities to increase school security.
“There is nothing more important than keeping our children safe,” Senator Bucco said. “Over the past several years, we have worked on a bipartisan basis to find ways to protect every classroom in New Jersey, without overburdening taxpayers. Allowing retired law enforcement officers to guard our schools was a great step forward, but we need to do more. This expansion will ensure that our schools can choose from a larger pool of qualified candidates who have the training and experience to effectively meet our school security needs.”
Under Senator Bucco’s 2016 law, a person is eligible to be appointed as a Class Three special law enforcement officer if he or she is a retired police officer less than 65 years old and has served as duly qualified, fully-trained, full-time municipal or county police officer or was regularly employed as a full-time member of the State Police.
The bill signed on March 18, 2019 by Governor Murphy (A-1400/S-3245) widens the definition of Class Three officers to include any law enforcement position eligible for participation in the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, including retired officers who have served in federal or bi-state agencies, such as the Port Authority.
In order to be a Class Three officer, a person also has to be physically capable of performing the job and have the appropriate law enforcement and safe schools resource officer training.
Class Three officers may only be employed to assist municipal police departments and are not to be employed to replace or substitute for full-time police officers. They may only be hired in a part-time capacity, and can serve at any public or nonpublic school in New Jersey, including vo-techs and county college.
“Utilizing a Class Three officer is the most affordable, commonsense solution for any New Jersey school in need of a qualified guard to keep students and staff safe,” Senator Bucco explained. “We know that when tragedy strikes, minutes can mean the difference between a life saved and a life lost. That’s why it is so important to have a class three officer on school grounds. I hope that this expansion will encourage more schools to take action to protect our kids and communities from harm.”
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