ASSEMBLY, No. 4566

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 15, 2015

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  ANTHONY M. BUCCO

District 25 (Morris and Somerset)

Assemblyman  GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)

Assemblywoman  BETTYLOU DECROCE

District 26 (Essex, Morris and Passaic)

Assemblyman  DAVID P. RIBLE

District 30 (Monmouth and Ocean)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes criminal penalties for unlawful control over weapons of any law enforcement officer and interference with equipment or duties of law enforcement officers and emergency services personnel.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning unlawful control over weapons and interference with emergency equipment and services, amending P.L.1996, c.14, and supplementing Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

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

 

     1.    Section 1 of P.L.1996, c.14 (C.2C:12-11) is amended to read as follows:

     1. a.  A person who knowingly takes or attempts to exercise unlawful control over a firearm or other weapon in the possession of a law enforcement [or corrections] officer when that officer is acting in the performance of his duties, and either is in uniform or exhibits evidence of his authority, is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

     b.  A person violating the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be guilty of a crime of the first degree if:

     (1)  The person fires or discharges the firearm;

     (2)  The person uses or threatens to use the firearm or weapon against the officer or any other person; or

     (3)  The officer or another person suffers serious bodily injury.

     c.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for any other offense defined in this Title.

     d.    For the purposes of this act:

     “Law enforcement officer” means a New Jersey resident employed as a full-time or part-time member of any State, county or municipal law enforcement agency, department, or division of those governments who is statutorily empowered to act for the detection, investigation, arrest, conviction, detention, or rehabilitation of persons violating the criminal laws of this State or of the United States and statutorily required to successfully complete a training course approved by the Police Training Commission pursuant to P.L.1961, c.56 (C.52:17B-66 et seq.), or certified by the commission as being substantially equivalent to an approved course, including any corrections officer, sheriff’s officer, or prosecutor.

(cf: P.L.1996, c.14, s.1)

 

     2.  (New section)  a.  It shall be a crime of the third degree for any person who with the purpose to inflict injury or physical harm to any person:

     (1)  Obstructs, impairs, perverts or interferes with the duties of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee, or attempts to obstruct, impair, pervert or interfere with the duties of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee; or 

     (2)  Damages, obstructs, impairs, perverts or interferes with the equipment of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee, or attempts to damage, obstruct, impair, pervert or interfere with the equipment of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee. 

     b.  A person violating the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be guilty of a crime of the second degree if the violation results in serious bodily injury to another person.

     c.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for any other offense defined in this Title.

     d.  For purposes of this act:

     “Public safety agency” means a functional division of a municipality, a county, or the State which dispatches or provides law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency medical services, or other emergency services;

     “Private safety agency” means any entity, except a municipality or a public safety agency, providing emergency medical services, fire fighting, or other emergency services;

     "Public safety employee" means a full-time or part-time member of a State, county or municipal law enforcement agency or a county sheriff's office who is statutorily empowered to act for the detection, apprehension, arrest, and conviction of offenders against the laws of this State; an active member in good standing of a paid, part-paid or volunteer fire department or of a duly incorporated first aid, emergency, ambulance or rescue squad; or a State or county correctional officer;

     “Private safety employee” means a full-time or part-time employee of any entity, except a municipality or a public safety agency, providing emergency medical services, fire fighting, or other emergency services.

 

     3.    (New section)  a.  It shall be a crime of the fourth degree for any person who knowingly:

     (1)  Obstructs, impairs, perverts or interferes with the duties of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee, or attempts to obstruct, impair, pervert or interfere with the duties of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee; or 

     (2)  Damages, obstructs, impairs, perverts or interferes with the equipment of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee, or attempts to damage, obstruct, impair, pervert or interfere with the equipment of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee. 

     b.  A person violating the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree if the violation results in bodily injury to another person.

     c.     A person violating the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be guilty of a crime of the second degree if the violation results in serious bodily injury to another person.

     d.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for any other offense defined in this Title.

 

     4.    (New section)  a.  A person who knowingly takes or attempts to exercise unlawful control over equipment in the possession of a law enforcement officer, as defined in section 1 of P.L.1996, c.14 (C.2C:12-11), when that officer is acting in the performance of his duties, and either is in uniform or exhibits evidence of his authority, is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.

     b.  A person violating the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree if:

     (1)  The person uses or threatens to use the equipment as a weapon against the officer or any other person; or

     (2)  The officer or another person suffers serious bodily injury.

     c.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for any other offense defined in this Title.

 

     5.    (New section)  a.  A person who knowingly takes or attempts to exercise unlawful control over equipment that is in the possession of emergency services personnel is guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. 

     b.  A person violating the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be guilty of a crime of the third degree if:

     (1)  The person uses or threatens to use the equipment as a weapon against the emergency services personnel or any other person; or

     (2)  The emergency services personnel or another person suffers serious bodily injury.

     c.  Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for any other offense defined in this Title.

     d.  For purposes of this act:

     “Emergency services personnel” shall include, but not be limited to, any paid or volunteer fireman and any person engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services acting in the performance of his official duties while in uniform or otherwise clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties;

     “Emergency services equipment” shall refer to any apparatus or equipment designed for or typically used in the course of performing the duties required of emergency services personnel.

     6.  This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would amend P.L.1996, c.14 (C.2C:12-11) and supplement Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes to establish criminal penalties for a person’s unlawful control over any law enforcement officer; for a person’s interference with or taking of equipment which is in the possession of a law enforcement officer or emergency services personnel, and for a person’s obstruction or interference with the duties of a public or private safety agency. 

     It is the sponsor’s intent to provide specific safeguards for all law enforcement officers, and emergency services personnel, and to prevent obstruction or interference with the duties of public and private safety agencies throughout the State. 

     Law enforcement officers and emergency services personnel are routinely called upon to serve and protect their fellow citizens by responding to emergencies and acting to save the lives of others, despite the risk of danger to themselves.  This legislation is introduced in response to the recent protests in Baltimore, Maryland, during which some of the efforts to provide aid and protection to the community were disrupted due to obstruction and interference with law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency medical services and other emergency services efforts as well as interference with and damage to the equipment used to provide these services.  In addition, a number of law enforcement officers and emergency services personnel were injured in the performance of their duties.

     Currently, under section 1 of P.L.1996, c.14 (C.2C:12-11), a person who knowingly takes or attempts to exercise unlawful control over a firearm or other weapon in the possession of a law enforcement or corrections officer when that officer is acting in the performance of his duties, and either is in uniform or exhibits evidence of his authority, is guilty of a crime of the second degree.  It is a crime of the first degree if the person fires or discharges the firearm; uses or threatens to use the firearm or weapon against the officer or any other person; or the officer or another person suffers serious bodily injury.  Section 1 of the bill would expand the statute to impose these penalties when these crimes are committed against any law enforcement officer. 

     Although the bill would remove the reference to “corrections” officer from subsection a. of section 1 of the statute, “law enforcement officer” is broadly defined in subsection d. of section 1 of the bill to include a New Jersey resident employed as a full-time or part-time member of any State, county or municipal law enforcement agency, department, or division of those governments who is statutorily empowered to act for the detection, investigation, arrest, conviction, detention, or rehabilitation of persons violating the criminal laws of this State or of the United States and statutorily required to successfully complete a training course approved by the Police Training Commission pursuant to P.L.1961, c.56 (C.52:17B-66 et seq.), or certified by the commission as being substantially equivalent to an approved course, including any corrections officer, sheriff’s officer, or prosecutor.

     Section 2 of the bill would make it a crime of the third degree if any person who, with the purpose to inflict injury or physical harm to any person, obstructs, impairs, perverts or interferes with the duties of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee, or attempts to obstruct, impair, pervert or interfere with the duties of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee; or damages, obstructs, impairs, perverts or interferes with the equipment of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee or attempts to damage, obstruct, impair, pervert or interfere with the equipment of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee.  A person who violates these provisions would be guilty of a crime of the second degree if the violation results in serious bodily injury to another person.

     Section 3 of the bill would provide that it is a crime of the fourth degree for any person to purposely obstruct, impair, pervert or interfere with the duties of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee, or attempt to obstruct, impair, pervert or interfere with the duties of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee; or damage, obstruct, impair, pervert or interfere with the equipment of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee, or attempt to damage, obstruct, impair, pervert or interfere with the equipment of a public or private safety agency or public or private safety employee.  A person violating the provisions of subsection a. of this section would be guilty of a crime of the third degree if the violation results in bodily injury to another person.  If the violation results in serious bodily injury to another person it would be a crime of the second degree.

     Pursuant to section 4 of the bill, a person would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree if he knowingly takes or attempts to exercise unlawful control over equipment in the possession of a law enforcement officer, as defined in section 1 of P.L.1996, c.14 (C.2C:12-11), when that officer is acting in the performance of his duties, and either is in uniform or exhibits evidence of his authority.  A person would be guilty of a crime of the third degree if he uses or threatens to use the equipment as a weapon against the officer or any other person or if the officer or another person suffers serious bodily injury.

     Pursuant to section 5 of the bill, a person who takes or attempts to exercise unlawful control over equipment that is in the possession of emergency services personnel would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree.  A person would be guilty of a crime of the third degree if the person uses or threatens to use the equipment as a weapon against the emergency services personnel or any other person or the emergency services personnel or another person suffers serious bodily injury.

     A crime of the second degree is punishable by imprisonment for a term of five to 10 years, a fine of up to $150,000, or both.  A crime of the third degree is punishable by imprisonment for a term of three to five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.  A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by imprisonment for a term of up to 18 months, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. 

     Pursuant to section 4 of the bill, “public safety agency” would mean a functional division of a municipality, a county, or the State which dispatches or provides law enforcement, fire fighting, emergency medical services, or other emergency services.  “Private safety agency” would mean any entity, except a municipality or a public safety agency, providing emergency medical services, fire fighting, or other emergency services.  "Public safety employee" would mean a full-time or part-time member of a State, county or municipal law enforcement agency or a county sheriff's office who is statutorily empowered to act for the detection, apprehension, arrest, and conviction of offenders against the laws of this State; an active member in good standing of a paid, part-paid or volunteer fire department or of a duly incorporated first aid, emergency, ambulance or rescue squad; or a State or county correctional officer, and “private safety employee” would mean a full-time or part-time employee of any entity, except a municipality or a public safety agency, providing emergency medical services, fire fighting, or other emergency services.

     Pursuant to section 5 of the bill, “emergency services personnel” would include, but not be limited to, any paid or volunteer fireman and any person engaged in emergency first-aid or medical services acting in the performance of his official duties while in uniform or otherwise clearly identifiable as being engaged in the performance of his duties.  “Emergency services equipment” would refer to any apparatus or equipment designed for or typically used in the course of performing the duties required of emergency services personnel.

     Sections 1 through 5 of the bill would provide that nothing would preclude or limit a prosecution or conviction for any other offense defined in Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes.

     The bill would take effect immediately.