SENATE BILL NO. 86
To the Senate:
Pursuant to Article V, Section I, Paragraph 14 of the New Jersey Constitution, I am returning Senate Bill No. 86 (Third Reprint) with my recommendations for reconsideration.
This bill establishes a new category of special law enforcement officers under the Special Law Enforcement Officers’ Act. This new category, Class Three special law enforcement (“SLEO III”) officers, would be comprised of retired law enforcement officers and would be authorized to provide security in New Jersey’s public and nonpublic schools and county colleges. The safety of our children in schools is of paramount concern, especially in the wake of senseless violent attacks in the very places that our children should feel safest. Moreover, it is vital to ensure that the officer is integrated into the unique setting of a school community and is properly trained to function not only as a safety expert and law enforcer, but also as a liaison to community resources, educators, and counselors.
This legislation will establish an affordable option for municipalities to provide security in schools if the locale deems the security measure appropriate. Under the bill, a SLEO III officer must have recently retired from a full-time position as a law enforcement officer and meet certain medical and mental requirements, among other things. While on duty at any school or college campus, the SLEO III officers will have full powers and duties similar to those of permanent, regularly appointed full-time police officers.
While I fully support the purpose of this bill, it unfortunately does not require SLEO III officers to complete the school resource officer program. School resource officers receive specialized training covering security issues that routinely arise in the school setting. I believe it is essential for SLEO III officers to receive this training to help guide their interactions with juveniles in a school setting.
Therefore, I recommend amending this bill so that SLEO III officers will be required to complete the school resource officer training to ensure that each SLEO III officer becomes an integral part of the school community, fostering positive relations among students, the community, and law enforcement.
Accordingly, I herewith return Senate Bill No. 86 (Third Reprint) and recommend that it be amended as follows:
Page 3, Section 1, Line 36: After “Certification;” insert “(5) has completed the training course for safe schools resource officers developed pursuant to subsection a. of section 2 of P.L.2005, c.276 (C.52:17B-71.8);”
Page 3, Section 1, Line 40: Delete “(5)” and insert “(6)”
[seal] /s/ Chris Christie
/s/ Thomas P. Scrivo
Chief Counsel to the Governor