North Bergen makes it easier to hire junior police officers

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Mayor Nicholas Sacco is sworn in to four new police officers at the end of January.

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Mayor Nicholas Sacco is sworn in to four new police officers at the end of January.

North Bergen made it easy to become a police officer.

The North Bergen Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance changing hiring practices for junior police officers. The board voted unanimously to do so at its February 9 meeting.

According to the ordinance, the township’s hiring practices are governed by the New Jersey Public Service Commission and the New Jersey Administrative Code. On February 4, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation amending the Civil Service Act to allow municipalities to hire police officers who have not passed the Civil Service Law Enforcement Examination, but who are otherwise qualified.

New Hiring Practices for Entry-Level Agents

“This allowed cities to hire police officers, even if they had not passed the civil service exam, on the condition that they complete a course known as the Comprehensive Basic Police Course for police,” township attorney Tom Kobin previously said of the order.

Under the new state law, which took effect in August 2021, hiring authorities will be allowed to appoint candidates who have successfully completed the full basic police course at a school approved and authorized by the New Jersey Police Training Commission. According to Kobin, if someone has taken this course, the commune can hire him even if he has not passed the civil service exam.

On January 18, 2022, the legislature amended the law and opened it up to include other positions such as sheriff’s officers, correctional officers, county police and other law enforcement, Kobin said. Under the amended law, Kobin said the township can also hire officers before they take the full basic police course.

These officers will be permanent temporary employees of the force with pay. Then, when they complete the course, if they meet all other requirements, the township can convert them to permanent employees. However, the amended law does not come into force until later in the year. So the order will go into effect when it comes into effect, according to Kobin.

“More representative of the community”

Mayor Nicholas Sacco said the order is intended to help the police department better represent residents.

“The genesis of the law is to make the force more representative of the community,” Sacco said at a meeting of commissioners in January.

According to Sacco, the township already has a residency requirement for police forces. However, North Bergen is looking to bring more residents into the force “without having to go through the arduous test”, he said, adding that would be on a case-by-case basis.

“We’re pretty diverse right now,” Sacco said. “It doesn’t hurt us, it helps us.”

“I think that will help us enormously,” added police chief Peter Fasilis.

For updates on this story and others, visit www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at [email protected]

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