SENATE, No. 2239
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED NOVEMBER 17, 1997
By Senators LITTELL, SINAGRA and Kosco
An Act concerning fire police and amending R.S.15:8-4.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. R.S.15:8-4 is amended to read as follows:
15:8-4. Any duly organized volunteer fire company may provide for the appointment of certain of its members to perform certain police duties at fires and fire drills, for a term of office not exceeding five years from the date of the appointment. [Such] The appointed members shall, before entering upon their duties, qualify by:
(1) Successfully completing a basic fire police training course formulated or approved by the Division of Fire Safety.
(2) [taking] Taking and subscribing an oath that they will justly, impartially and faithfully discharge their duties according to the best of their ability and understanding. [Said] The oath shall be administered by the municipal clerk and subscribed to in duplicate. The original copy of [said] the oath shall be filed with the municipal clerk and the copy thereof filed with the secretary of the fire company making [such] the appointment.
After appointment, a qualified member shall be eligible as a fire police officer and shall have full power and authority to act as [such] a fire police officer anywhere in the county in which he is appointed or in any other county in which he is called upon to act.
It shall be the duty of a member of the fire police to perform his duties under the supervision of the fire officer in charge of the fire or fire drill.
The duties of said fire police subject to the supervision aforesaid shall be to:
(1) Protect property and contents.
(2) Establish and maintain fire lines.
(3) Perform such traffic duties as necessary, from the fire station to and at the vicinity of the fire, fire drill or other emergency call, or at any public event where fire police services may be requested to protect the public, until the arrival of a duly authorized police officer.
(4) In the absence of investigating authorities, fire police shall investigate all causes of fires and preserve all evidence pertaining to questionable fires and turn evidence over to proper investigating authorities.
(5) Wear the authorized fire police badge on the left breast of the outermost garment while on duty.
Provided, however, nothing herein contained shall give the fire police or any of them the right to supersede a duly authorized police officer.
If any person shall unreasonably refuse to obey the orders of the fire police, [such] a fire police officer may arrest him and keep him under arrest until the fire is extinguished or the drill completed. If the offender is found guilty by a municipal court or Superior Court, he shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding [$200.00] $200 and costs.
(cf: P.L.1991, c.91, s.230)
2. This act shall take effect immediately, but the training requirement shall apply only to fire police officers initially appointed on or after the effective date.
This bill authorizes fire police to perform traffic duties at public events where their services may be requested to protect the public. Currently, fire police are specifically authorized to perform traffic duties from the fire station to, and at the vicinity of, a fire, fire drill or other emergency call, such as at the scene of a motor vehicle accident, downed wires, malfunctioning traffic signals or flooded roads, until the arrival of a duly authorized police officer. Under the bill, fire police would also be authorized to provide crowd control services when requested to do so at public events, including, but not limited to, parades, fireworks displays, fairs, field days and dedications of fire apparatus, equipment and buildings.
The bill would also require all members of a volunteer fire company appointed to the fire police to successfully complete a basic fire police officer training course before commencing their duties. The course would be required to be formulated or approved by the Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs. A basic fire police officer training course has been developed by the division and is currently being offered on a voluntary basis.
Requires training, expands jurisdiction of fire police.