New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law on Thursday requiring all law enforcement officers to obtain a policing license in order to be employed as officers in the state making it the 47th state to enact a police licensing program, reports WHYY. The state’s Police Training Commission will operate the licensing program. Under the new law, licenses will not be issued to people convicted of any crime in New Jersey, or anywhere in the U.S. — including domestic violence-related and firearm-related offenses. Licenses will also not be issued to active members of anti-government groups or groups that advocate for discrimination as listed by the state’s Law Against Discrimination. The state can revoke an officers' license for any of the aforementioned reasons as well as for misconduct in an officer's personal or professional life like "making statements, posting, sharing, or commenting in supporting of any posting, on social media or otherwise, that demonstrates, espouses, advocates, or supports discrimination or violence against, or hatred or bias toward individuals or groups" that are protected under the Law Against Discrimination according to the Governor's Office.
Officers must renew their licenses every three years. Murphy emphasized to the public that being a member of New Jersey's law enforcement family is a privilege, not a right. Advocacy groups praised the new measure. Though, some called on the state government to pass more police reform. Amol Sinha, executive director of the ACLU-NJ, said the state should pass reform that creates better transparency over police disciplinary records, allows municipalities to create civilian review boards with subpoena power, and ends qualified immunity for public officials and law enforcement officers. “New Jersey lags behind among the few states that keep police disciplinary records hidden from the public,” Sinha said.