Dancer legislation removing civil service exam obstacle for entry-level law enforcement goes to governor

Dancer legislation removing civil service exam obstacle for entry-level law enforcement goes to governor

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – Aspiring police officers may not have to take the civil service exam prior to employment under legislation advanced by the Assembly and Senate yesterday.

The bill (A5122/S3220) permits a municipality or county police department that has adopted a conflict of interest and nepotism policy to exempt an entry-level officer from the required civil service law enforcement exam, provided they successfully completed the full basic course for police officers as prescribed by the New Jersey Police Training Commission.

“Any police officer that obtains their full certification certainly has demonstrated the administrative capacity and skill sets to pass months of police-related training exams without an additional civil service test,” said Assemblyman Ron Dancer, a prime sponsor of the legislation. “If they can pass the physical requirements and rigors of the full basic course for police officers, they have demonstrated they can handle the responsibilities that come with the badge.”

Dancer explained the legislation is permissive and can only move forward if a town adopts an ordinance or resolution to permit such hiring.

“This law would create opportunities for police departments to hire more diversified and qualified law enforcement, while eliminating valid nepotism concerns,” said Dancer (R-Ocean).

The state administers the civil service law enforcement exam every two years. Approximately 28,000 applicants took the exam in 2019.