TRENTON, N.J. – A bill that would create a police employment database passed in the Assembly Thursday.
The bill (A4379), sponsored by Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, requires the State Police to create a database that will house records from all law enforcement agency applicants. That information will include applicants’ names, positions applied for, employments offers and reasons for rejection.
“Our own State Police commissioner has said the number of applicants has dwindled exponentially in the last several years,” DiMaso (R-Monmouth) said. “At this critical time, with such a small pool to hire from, we need to ensure that departments are hiring only the best of the best, especially smaller departments that already have problems retaining and vetting officers due to lack of resources.”
The bill seeks to ensure that only top-notch candidates join the ranks of the men and women in blue. Those few who have been passed up will be prevented from shopping around for jobs with other police departments and agencies. Currently, there is no way for an agency to know if another agency rejected an applicant. Agencies can share internal files with other agencies only regarding already-employed police officers.
The attorney general’s office will be responsible for developing reporting and privacy guidelines. While the N.J. Press Association balks at confidentiality provisions, the state PBA does support protecting officers’ privacy.
Ultimately, DiMaso said, the process protects the integrity of law enforcement agencies.
“This registry will ensure that a few ‘bad apples’ are held accountable for their actions versus entire departments of great men and women who answer the call to keep us safe,” DiMaso said. “And the public deserves to have the confidence that only such great men and women are patrolling our streets and answering calls. It’s a win for our residents and for our valued law enforcement officers.”