NEW JERSEY – Senator Anthony M. Bucco will introduce legislation to address concerns related to the recent death of Lucas C. Homeijer, a State Police recruit who succumbed to injuries sustained during a training exercise at the New Jersey State Police Academy in Sea Girt Borough.
“This young man died a hero while training to become a State Trooper who would protect and serve New Jersey families,” Bucco (R-25) said. “His intention was to serve, and we should honor his sacrifice in that pursuit even though his dream was never fully realized. My hope is that neither Lucas nor the Homeijer family are denied any of the recognition or benefits they deserve. They have my deepest condolences during this difficult time.”
Homeijer, a 27-year-old Boonton native from Bucco’s legislative district, was a member of the 161st New Jersey State Police Academy Class.
Under current law, State Police recruits are not sworn in as Troopers until they complete their training and graduate from the Academy. As a result, deaths that occur during training are not currently considered to have happened in the line of duty.
Under Bucco’s new legislation, the death of a State Police recruit that results from training at the Academy would be classified as a line-of-duty loss, making the recruit’s loves ones eligible for various survivor benefits. The measure would not change the swearing in process or timeline.
“This tragedy is a reminder that being a State Trooper and training to be a Trooper are both difficult and dangerous jobs,” Bucco said. “Once someone answers the call to service, they deserve to know that we’ll take care of their family should the worst happen. It’s unimaginable that we might let a loophole in the law prevent us from honoring that commitment. We have a moral obligation to fix this.”