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County Employees in N.J. Can’t Join Police Union

(CN) - Employees of a county weights and measures department are not allowed to join a police union, the New Jersey Appellate Division ruled, because they have limited authority to make arrests.

The New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association applied to the Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) to represent Burlington County's assistant superintendents and their apprentices.

New Jersey law does not allow non-police officers to join police unions. Ruling that this law was not violated, PERC allowed the representation.

The superintendents' previous union, Communications Workers of America, challenged the ruling, and the trial court ruled that PERC properly classified the superintendents as policemen because they can make arrests if the Weights and Measures Law is violated in their presence.

On appeal, Judge Laura Lewinn overturned the decision, ruling that the trial court and PERC interpreted the law too broadly.

"The authority to arrest for violations of the weights and measures law committed in an employee's presence is not comparable to the general law enforcement authority granted to police and corrections officers," Lewinn wrote.

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