TRENTNON – Police and firefighters who were forced to leave their professions due to service-related injury or illness would get help learning a new career under legislation introduced by NJ Sen. Vince Polistina (R-2).
“An individual who chooses a career in emergency services typically does so with the intent of being there for good. Sadly though, many face injuries while in the performance of their duties that result in them no longer being able to perform the job,” Polistina said in a release. “After dedicating their lives to law enforcement or the fire service, they find themselves needing to start over, many with no training or skills outside their former profession. We want to help them prepare to step into a new field that may never replace their chosen occupation, but one that will help fill the void.”
Under the bill, S-2837, retired law enforcement officers and firefighters could attend courses at public colleges tuition-free if their retirement was the result of a service-related injury or illness.
Eligible individuals could receive up to 16 credits per semester for a maximum of eight semesters.
“When one of these brave men or women suffer a career-ending injury, many are faced with challenges finding the answer to what’s next,” Polistina said. “This legislation will allow them to decide their future and not have their injuries hold them back.”
The bill also provides that the dependent child or spouse of a law enforcement officer or firefighter who died in the line of duty would be eligible for the same benefits.
“Kids who lose their parents in the service of our families and neighbors deserve no less,” Polistina said. “This is a reasonable, much needed bill, and I’m hopeful my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support it and help it move swiftly through the Legislature.”