New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy Thursday signed S2742/A4194 into law, establishing a police licensing program for all New Jersey law enforcement officers.

The new law will require all law enforcement officers to hold a valid, active license issued by the Police Training Commission (PTC) in order to be employed as officers in the State of New Jersey. Governor Murphy first proposed the legislation in May and the bill quickly moved through both the Senate and Assembly. New Jersey will become the 47th state to establish a police licensing program, NJ.Gov reports.

The new law grants the PTC the ability and responsibility to monitor and take appropriate actions against the licenses of any law enforcement officer who acts outside the bounds of professional standards or engages in illegal or improper conduct. Some of the conduct resulting in the revocation or non-issuance of a license include:

  • Conviction of any crime in NJ, or any other state, territory, country, or of the U.S.;
  • Conviction of an act of domestic violence;
  • Conviction of any offense that would preclude an officer from carrying a firearm;
  • Two or more motor vehicle offenses for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or two of more motor vehicle offenses for reckless driving;
  • Being an active member of a group that advocates for the violent overthrow of the government or for discrimination based on classes protected by the Law Against Discrimination (LAD); and
  • Conduct or behavior in the officer’s personal or professional life such as making statements, posting, sharing, or commenting in support of any posting, on social media, or otherwise, that demonstrates, espouses, advocates or supports discrimination or violence against, or hatred or bias toward individuals or groups based on race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other protected characteristic under the “Law Against Discrimination.”

The PTC, which establishes statewide law enforcement standards, voted unanimously in June 2020 to create a statewide police licensing program, recognizing that over 40 states across the country use a form of decertification or licensing for law enforcement officers. In an effort to help build public trust in law enforcement, the police licensing program will require all law enforcement officers to meet certain uniform professional standards to become, or continue to be, an active law enforcement officer in the state. 

    Officers will be subject to renew their licenses three years after issuance.