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N.J. moves to create police licensing requirement, joining 40+ states

The measure would standardize training requirements for police and corrections officers across the state

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy endorsed legislation on May 18, 2022, that would create a standardized licensing and decertification process for police officers across the state.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

By Suzie Ziegler

TRENTON, N.J. — Unlike most other states, New Jersey doesn’t have licensing requirements for cops. The Garden State doesn’t have a decertification process either. Gov. Phil Murphy wants to change that.

On Wednesday, Murphy endorsed legislation that would create a standardized licensing and decertification process for police officers, reported. The measure would apply to all police and corrections officers across the state.

“Policing is perhaps the only skilled profession left in New Jersey that does not provide individuals with a license that shows beyond any doubt that they have been through rigorous training and are not just expected to — but are required to — live up to the highest professional standards,” Murphy said during a press conference.

The measure is supported by many New Jersey police unions, according to the report.

“When one of those members tarnishes the badge, we are all tarnished,” said Patrick Colligan, head of the New Jersey PBA. “It takes a long time to get over that.”

Under the proposed licensing requirements, officers would have to pass a psychological examination and take training courses throughout their career to stay licensed.

While cops in New Jersey already undergo extensive training, the current requirements are a mash-up of local and state protocols, the report says. Disciplinary action can also look very different depending on where the officer works.

State lawmakers say they want to pass the measure quickly, but the exact timeline is unclear, according to the report.