ASSEMBLY, No. 3492

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JULY 11, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblyman  CHARLES MAINOR

District 31 (Hudson)

Assemblywoman  NANCY J. PINKIN

District 18 (Middlesex)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Grants certain employment protections to campus police officers.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning campus police officers and supplementing Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  Except as otherwise provided by law, a campus police officer appointed pursuant to P.L.1970, c.211 (C.18A:6-4.2 et seq.) shall not be removed from office, employment or position for political reasons or for any cause other than incapacity, misconduct, or disobedience of rules and regulations established for the government of the police agency, nor shall a campus police officer  be suspended, removed, fined or reduced in rank from or in office, employment, or position therein, except for just cause as hereinbefore provided and then only upon a written complaint setting forth the charge or charges against the officer. 

     b.    The complaint shall be filed in the office of the person or entity having charge of the police agency where the complaint is made and a copy shall be served upon the officer charged, with notice of a designated hearing thereon by the proper authorities, which shall be not less than 10 or more than 30 days from date of service of the complaint. 

     c.    A complaint charging a violation of the internal rules and regulations established for the conduct of a police agency shall be filed no later than the 45th day after the date on which the person filing the complaint obtained sufficient information to file the matter upon which the complaint is based. 

     (1)   The 45-day time limit shall not apply if an investigation of a campus police officer for a violation of the internal rules or regulations of the police agency is included directly or indirectly within a concurrent investigation of that officer for a violation of the criminal laws of this State.  The 45-day limit shall begin on the day after the disposition of the criminal investigation. 

     (2)   The 45-day requirement for filing a complaint against an officer shall not apply to a filing of a complaint by a private individual. 

     d.    A failure to comply with these provisions as to the service of the  complaint and the time within which a complaint is to be filed shall require a dismissal of the complaint. 

     e.    The campus police officer may waive the right to a hearing and may appeal the charges directly to any available authority specified by law or regulation, or follow any other procedure recognized by a contract, as permitted by law. 

     f.     The campus police officer or the police agency may request a court reporter at a hearing.  The party who requests the court reporter shall bear the cost of the reporter. 

 

     2.    This act shall take effect immediately. 


STATEMENT

 

     This bill grants campus police officers certain employment protections. 

     Specifically, the bill provides that campus police officers may not be removed from their employment or position for political reasons or for any cause other than just cause, i.e., incapacity, misconduct, or disobedience of rules and regulations established by the college or university police agency. 

     Under the bill, a campus police officer may not be suspended, removed, fined or reduced in rank for a violation of the internal rules and regulations established for the conduct of employees of the police agency, except for just cause and then only upon a written complaint setting forth the charge against the officer.  The complaint must be filed in the office of the person or body in charge of the police agency where the complaint is made and a copy must be served upon the officer charged, including notifying the officer of a designated hearing by the proper authorities.  The hearing must be held at least 10 days, but not more than 30 days after the date the complaint was served. 

     The bill also establishes that the "45-day rule" applies to campus police officers.  Under the rule, all complaints against campus police officers for violations of their police agency’s internal rules and regulations must be filed within 45 days of establishing the grounds for the complaint.  If the complaint is not filed within this 45 day window, the complaint must be dismissed and the campus police officer cannot be fired, suspended, fined or reduced in rank for that violation.  The 45-day rule does not apply if a campus police officer’s alleged violation of police agency rules and regulations is directly or indirectly related to a criminal investigation involving that officer. 

     Under the bill, the 45-day rule also does not apply in cases where the complaint is being filed by a private individual. 

     The bill further authorizes the campus police officer or the police agency to request a court reporter at a hearing.  The party who makes the request is responsible for the cost of the court reporter. 

     Current law authorizes colleges and universities in this State to appoint police officers. Similar to municipal police officers,  campus police officers receive police academy training and are authorized to carry weapons and make arrests.  Other law enforcement officers granted these employment protections include local police officers, State Police officers and troopers, county investigators, and paid firefighters.