(WOODBRIDGE, NJ- May 18, 2015) - New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan released the following statement praising the New Jersey State Senate’s passage of legislation today that will upgrade simple assault to aggravated assault if committed against corrections officers and other law enforcement officers because of job status and commended legislators for their role in trying to ensure the safety of off-duty officers.  The legislation passed the NJ State Senate unanimously, 35-0.
“This is about parity.  If you wear the law enforcement uniform, you deserve the protection.  Corrections Officers are playing a critical role every day in the fight to keep our streets safe and our neighborhoods secure, and they deserve to have the same protections as anyone else wearing the uniform, regardless of whether they are on or off duty.
It is not uncommon for inmates released from jail to live in the same communities as the Corrections Officers charged with overseeing their incarceration.  This dynamic has the potential to create a scenario where off-duty officers find themselves with their families in their communities and in contact with individuals they were previously overseeing in our prison system.  Today’s legislation provides protective measures for officers and helps serve as a deterrent for any potential conflict that could arise from residual impact of the corrections officer-inmate dynamic.
It has taken a lot in order to get this legislation passed through the State Senate after it’s introduction last December and I would like to personally thank Senator Diane Allen and Senator Linda Greenstein for their determination in helping to protect our members.  I would also like to encourage Speaker Prieto to take the next critical step in the process and post this important legislation for a vote at the next Assembly voting session.”