NJ Gov. Murphy wants all cops to be licensed

New Jersey could soon be creating a statewide licensing program for its police officers. The plan is part of a bill proposed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday.

The legislation would require prospective police officers to fulfill several requirements before being issued a license, including undergoing a psychological evaluation and completing post-academy professional training. 

"A designated license for law enforcement simply recognizes our women and men in uniform, such as those who graduate from this Essex County Police Academy, I might add, as the skilled and specially trained professionals they are," Murphy, a Democrat, said at an event at the academy. "This is a significant step forward for transparency and accountability and to rebuilding the bonds of trust between police and residents especially, not only but especially in Black and brown communities."

In order to qualify for licensing, officers would also be forbidden from "engaging in conduct including social media posts or being an active member of a group that advocates for the violent overthrow of the government or for discrimination based on classes protected by the Law Against Discrimination."

Acting Attorney General Platkin said statewide licensure is crucial to strengthening relationships between the police and the communities they serve.

"This proposed legislation consolidates best practices from around the country to create a true national model — a licensing program that will ensure the continued excellence of our dedicated law enforcement professionals," Platkin said.

State lawmakers would need to vote on the bill. It isn't clear how long that process could take.