Essex County Commissioners Romaine Graham (left) and Tyshammie L. Cooper (right). PHOTO BY ESSEX COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
(Cedar Grove, NJ) – Commissioner Romaine Graham and Commissioner Tyshammie Cooper attended a press conference on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, where Governor Phil Murphy and Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced proposed legislation that would create a statewide police licensing program. The commissioners whole heartedly agree with the proposal that aims to better protect the health, safety, and welfare of all citizens. By enacting a professional licensing program, police officers would be accountable to meet regulating standards.
If enacted, the bill would require all law enforcement officers to hold valid, active licenses issued by the Police Training Commission (PTC) in order to be employed as officers in the State of New Jersey. The PTC, which establishes statewide law enforcement standards, voted unanimously 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, this proposed police licensing program would 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. To better protect the health, safety, and welfare of all citizens, the legislation would grant the PTC the ability to take actions against the licenses of officers who act outside the professional standards or engage in illegal or improper conduct. Professional licensing is used in various other contexts, and occupations such as teachers, doctors, electricians, and counselors, among others, are subject to licensing requirements that provide the public with appropriate assurance of professionalism, qualification, and accountability.
Commissioner At-Large Romaine Graham stated “I appreciate if enacted, the licensing will be an added level of accountability to ensure our citizens that regular evaluations are taking place.” Additionally, license holders will have to pass a psychological examination, maintaining post academy ongoing professional training requirements set by the PTC subject to renewal after three years.
Accordingly, District 3 Commissioner Tyshammie Cooper agrees with and supports the legislation; she stated “The legislation will hold bad actors responsible and their records will follow them from agency to agency. Therefore, ultimately raising the standard for law enforcement professionals all around.” Both Graham and Cooper plan to sponsor a Resolution from the Board of County Commissioners in support of the this legislation and encourage their Board colleagues to do likewise.
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For Additional Information – Contact:
Kathy R. Brown, Chief of Administration Service
Essex County Board of County Commissioners
973-621-4489 (phone) 973-621-5695 (fax)