TRENTON — The state is helping Jersey Shore communities shore up their police forces this summer by deputizing school cops as special seasonal officers.

Since March, the Police Training Commission and the state Attorney General's Office have been allowing municipalities to reclassify Class III special law enforcement officers, who provide school security, as Class II special officers, who have full arrest authority while working seasonally or part-time.

On Friday, state officials said that the reclassified Class II cops would also be allowed to transfer municipalities or counties, allowing shore towns to snatch up more officers.

Grewal said this will allow shore communities to hire the summer officers they need should they face shortages because of illness due to the coronavirus.

More than two hundred Class III officers have been designated as Class II. Another 200 Class III officers could qualify under the new rules.

Last month, the state allowed municipalities to hire retired cops as Class II officers and allowed departments to assign more non-enforcement duties to recruits, including dispatching and processing prisoners.

Earlier this month, the state reopened police academies through remote instruction.

“We knew law enforcement resources would be stretched to the limit by this pandemic, not only because of officers being ill or quarantined, but because of the many new responsibilities imposed by this unprecedented emergency,” Grewal said in a written statement on Friday. I’m confident that the measures we have announced to address manpower issues – along with the recent re-opening of the police academies – will give our Shore communities the officers they need to ensure a safe and family-friendly summer season.”

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