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N.J. attorney general issues guidance to augment shore police forces

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TRENTON — State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal on Friday announced an expedited process to re-designate school law enforcement officers as seasonal law enforcement officers along the Jersey Shore and in other towns that use them.

The new guidance is intended to help municipalities that see an influx of visitors during the summer but may be having trouble staffing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We knew law enforcement resources would be stretched to the limit by this pandemic, not only because of officers being ill or quarantined, but because of the many new responsibilities imposed by this unprecedented emergency,” Grewal said. “I’m confident that the measures we have announced to address manpower issues — along with the recent reopening of the police academies — will give our shore communities the officers they need to ensure a safe and family-friendly summer season.”

State law allows for three categories of part-time, special law enforcement officers. Class I officers work traffic, spectator control and the like. Class II officers have full arrest authority but usually work part-time or seasonally. Class III officers provide security at schools.

Generally, the Police Training Commission must approve transferring an officer from one category to another. The commission streamlined that process this year, and Grewal’s guidance Friday will make it easier for officers to move from one municipality to another, according to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office.

In April, the attorney general announced measures to facilitate hiring retired officers as Class II’s. More than 200 Class III’s have been re-designated Class II’s in the past two months.

Police academies were given authorization to partially reopen starting the second week of May.

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