State Police recruit death would be line of duty loss, under bill
Following the recent death of a 27-year-old State Police recruit during a training drill, state Sen. Anthony Bucco has proposed a bill that would make such a tragic death a line of duty loss in New Jersey.
Lucas C. Homeijer, of Boonton, was a member of the 161st New Jersey State Police Academy Class and was training on Nov. 25 at the academy facility in Sea Girt when he lost consciousness during an active countermeasures/boxing bout, according to State Police. He was hospitalized in critical condition for several days before his death.
Homeijer was the first recruit to die while training, according to Col. Patrick Callahan, the State Police superintendent, who also previously said "I have no doubt that Luke would have made a phenomenal New Jersey trooper."
Under current law, State Police recruits are not sworn in as troopers until they complete their training and graduate from the training academy.
As a result, deaths that occur during training are not currently considered to have happened in the line of duty.
"Along with that would go the benefits and other things like respect and honor that should be bestowed on someone who is doing a career with the New Jersey State Police," Bucco told New Jersey 101.5.
"Lucas Homeijer died a hero while pursing his dream to follow in his father's footsteps and become a New Jersey state trooper. His intention to serve and the sacrifice that he made in pursing his dream should be honored. And my bill will do just that," Bucco said.
The bill was still being drafted on Monday morning and was not yet available to read.
Homeijer's funeral was Sunday, according to State Police and Gov. Phil Murphy, who ordered flags to be flown at half-staff over this past weekend at state buildings and facilities.
Callahan has said a "thorough investigation" into Homeijer's death was being conducted.