Bill would add ‘police’ to corrections officers’ title in NJ

Officials said that the title change will remind people that COs in the state have police powers too

By CorrectionsOne Staff

TRENTON, N.J. — Corrections officers in New Jersey could have their title renamed in order to clarify their policing powers.

The Daily Journal reports that the New Jersey Senate and Assembly both passed the bill that would rename state corrections officers to state correctional police officers. The measure will reestablish the law enforcement powers COs in the state already have, including their right to exercise full police powers and carry a firearm while performing their duties.

Sen. Jeff Van Drew, one of the bill’s sponsors, said that the title change will more accurately reflect COs’ responsibilities and will help give them the respect he feels they deserve.

“Corrections officers put their lives on the line every day in our correctional facilities," Drew said. “These men and women are also expected to react if a crime is committed or an emergency occurs outside of the facility in which they work, and in fact corrections officers were among those who were deployed in response to the 9/11 terror attacks.”

State officials also said the main purpose of the bill is to educate the public and remind them that corrections officers have police powers too. 

“When these officers are called to protect the public during emergencies or natural disasters, it is imperative that other officers and the public respect their authority to maintain order and respond to crises," Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon said.

The bill is currently awaiting final approval.

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