Assemblyman CHRISTIAN E. BARRANCO
District 26 (Essex, Morris and Passaic)
Permits special law enforcement officers and auxiliary police officers to carry firearms on duty.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning firearms, amending P.L.1985, c.439, and supplementing Title 40A of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. (New section) a. A volunteer auxiliary police officer shall complete the basic firearms training course required for a special law enforcement officer pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1985, c.439 (C.40A:14-146.11), as prescribed by the Police Training Commission. Upon certification that the officer has successfully completed the training, a municipality shall authorize the officer to use a firearm in the performance of duties. As used in this section, "volunteer auxiliary police" means auxiliary police organized pursuant to section 13 of P.L.1942, c.251 (C.App.A:9-45).
b. This section does not change the rights and duties of volunteer auxiliary police in a time of emergency or the Governor's authority to issue orders concerning auxiliary police in times of emergency.
2. Section 4 of P.L.1985, c.439 (C.40A:14-146.11) is amended to read as follows:
4. a. A person shall not commence the duties of a special law enforcement officer unless the person has successfully completed a training course approved by the commission and a special law enforcement officer shall not be issued a firearm unless the officer has successfully completed the basic firearms course approved by the commission for permanent, regularly appointed police and annual requalification examinations as required by subsection b. of section 7 of P.L.1985, c.439 (C.40A:14-146.14). There shall be three classifications for special police officers. The commission shall prescribe by rule or regulation the training standards to be established for each classification. Training may be in a commission approved academy or in any other training program which the commission may determine appropriate. The classifications shall be based upon the duties to be performed by the special law enforcement officer as follows:
(1) Class One. Officers of this class shall be authorized to perform routine traffic detail, spectator control, and similar duties. If authorized by ordinance or resolution, as appropriate, Class One officers shall have the power to issue summonses for disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offenses, violations of municipal ordinances, and violations of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes. [The use of a firearm by an officer of this class shall be strictly prohibited and a Class One officer shall not be assigned any duties which may require the carrying or use of a firearm] An officer of this class shall receive firearm training prescribed by the commission and use of a firearm by the officer shall be authorized after the officer has been fully certified as successfully completing the training.
(2) Class Two. Officers of this class shall be authorized to exercise full powers and duties similar to those of a permanent, regularly appointed full-time police officer. [The] An officer of this class shall receive firearm training prescribed by the commission and use of a firearm by [an] the officer [of this class may] shall be authorized [only] after the officer has been fully certified as successfully completing the training [as prescribed by the commission].
(3) Class Three. Officers of this class shall be authorized to exercise full powers and duties similar to those of a permanent, regularly appointed full-time police officer while providing security at a public or nonpublic school or a county college on the school or college premises during hours when the public or nonpublic school or county college is normally in session or when it is occupied by public or nonpublic school or county college students or their teachers or professors. While on duty in the jurisdiction of employment, an officer may respond to offenses or emergencies off school or college grounds if they occur in the officer’s presence while traveling to a school facility or county college, but an officer shall not otherwise be dispatched or dedicated to any assignment off school or college property.
The use of a firearm by an officer of this class shall be authorized pursuant to the provisions of subsection b. of section 7 of P.L.1985, c.439 (C.40A:14-146.14). An officer of this class shall not be authorized to carry a firearm while off duty unless the officer complies with the requirements set forth in subsection l. of N.J.S.2C:39-6 authorizing a retired law enforcement officer to carry a handgun.
b. The commission may, in its discretion, except from the requirements of this section any person who demonstrates to the commission's satisfaction that the person has successfully completed a police training course conducted by any federal, state or other public or private agency, the requirements of which are substantially equivalent to the requirements of this act.
c. The commission shall certify officers who have satisfactorily completed training programs and issue appropriate certificates to those officers. The certificate shall clearly state the category of certification for which the officer has been certified by the commission.
d. All special law enforcement officers appointed and in service on the effective date of this act may continue in service if within 24 months of the effective date of this act they will have completed all training and certification requirements of this act.
(cf: P.L.2016, c.68, s.2)
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill authorizes all classes of special law enforcement officers (SLEOs) and members of the volunteer auxiliary police to carry firearms in the performance of their duties.
Current law establishes three classes of SLEOs. Class One SLEOs specifically are prohibited from carrying a firearm or being assigned duties requiring a firearm. Class Two SLEOs may carry firearms in the performance of duties, if they complete firearm training as prescribed by the police training commission and are authorized to carry by a municipality. Class Three SLEOs are retired full-time law enforcement officers who are permitted to carry a firearm in the performance of their duties and do not require additional firearm training. This bill removes the prohibition on carrying a firearm for Class One SLEOs and municipal discretion to choose to authorize Class Two SLEOs to carry. Under the bill, both classes of SLEOs would be permitted carry in the performance of their duties after completion of firearm training.
Additionally, this bill requires municipalities to permit members of the volunteer auxiliary police to carry in the performance of their duties after completion of the firearm training required for SLEOs. Volunteer auxiliary police officers are volunteers who are trained to assist law enforcement officers and perform certain functions, such as crowd and traffic control or uniformed foot patrol.