SENATE, No. 2233
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED NOVEMBER 17, 1997
By Senator KOSCO
An Act concerning county corrections officers and supplementing chapter 23 of Title 40 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Whenever any county corrections officer is a defendant in an action or legal proceeding arising out of or incidental to the performance of his duties, the county shall provide that officer with necessary means for the defense of the action or proceeding, but not for the officer's defense in a disciplinary or criminal proceeding. If such disciplinary or criminal proceeding is dismissed or finally determined in favor of the officer, the officer shall be reimbursed for the expense of the officer's defense.
2. Whenever any county corrections officer is charged under the laws of this State, another state, or the United States, and has been suspended without pay as a result of an action or legal proceeding arising out of or incidental to the performance of the officer's duties, or otherwise, and is found not guilty at trial, or if the charges are dismissed or the prosecution is terminated, that officer shall be reinstated to the position held prior to being charged and shall recover all pay withheld during the period of suspension subject to any disciplinary proceedings or administrative action.
3. This act shall take effect immediately.
Under section 1 of P.L.1971, c.197 (C.40A:14-155), municipalities are required to pay for the defense of any municipal law enforcement officer who is a defendant in any action or legal proceeding arising out of the performance of that person's official duties. This requirement does not apply, however, to disciplinary or criminal proceedings. In those cases, the municipality is required to reimburse the law enforcement officer for the cost of the officer's defense if the proceeding is either determined in favor of the officer or dismissed.
In case of law enforcement officers who have been suspended without pay because of charges arising out of the performance of their duties, or otherwise, but who are later acquitted of those charges or have those charges dismissed, the provisions of P.L.1973, c.270 (C.40:14A-149.1 et seq.) require their reinstatement by the municipality and establish their entitlement to the recovery of all pay withheld during the period of suspension.
The provisions of this bill would entitle county corrections officers to the same rights to legal defense and protections if found not guilty in any action or legal proceeding arising out of the performance of their official duties which currently accrue to municipal law enforcement officers.
Provides for legal defense of county correction officers; authorizes reinstatement and recovery of wages under certain circumstances.