For reversal and remandment -- Chief Justice Weintraub and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall, Schettino and Haneman. For affirmance -- None. The opinion of the court was delivered by Haneman, J.
Following a hearing, defendant, Superintendent of the Division of State Police, denied the application of plaintiff, William Schulman, for a private detective license under N.J.S.A. 45:19-8, et seq. Plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Division and we certified the case on our own motion prior to argument there.
Under N.J.S.A. 45:19-12, the Superintendent of the Division of State Police must be "* * * satisfied from the examination of any application and such further inquiry and
investigations as he shall deem proper as to the good character, competency and integrity of the applicant * * *" before he shall issue a private detective license and
"No license shall be issued to a person under the age of twenty-five years, nor to any person, firm, association or corporation unless such person or at least one member of the firm and one officer or director of the association or corporation has had at least five years' experience as an investigator or as a police officer with an organized police department of the State or a county or municipality thereof, or with an investigative agency of the United States of America or any State, county or municipality thereof."
It is this paragraph which is productive of the present appeal. Plaintiff's application for such a license, indicating that he was a "Board of Freeholders Investigator," was denied by the Superintendent because, as he stated in his denial letter
"The experience required by [ N.J.S.A. 49:19-12] is investigative work in the realm of criminal or related law enforcement activities. * * * From your application it does not appear that your investigative experience would fall into this category."
Subsequent to this refusal, plaintiff requested a hearing before the Superintendent at which he testified as follows: Between 1954 and 1960 he worked full time as an investigator for the Hudson County Board of Freeholders on a noncivil service or "per diem" basis. In 1960 he took the requisite civil service examination and was certified by the State Civil Service Commission as an investigator, to which position the county appointed him with tenure. He was responsible to the Director of the Board of Freeholders and performed assigned investigative tasks for the Hudson County Law Department and the County Welfare Board. His work with the former consisted of investigating "frauds, accidents, general different things", and with the latter, investigative searches for fraud and welfare condition compliance, including the tracing of missing husbands and putative fathers. He retired from this position on a disability pension in 1967.
In the course of his work with the Welfare Board, Schulman headed an investigative unit composed of three former police officers and a former F.B.I. agent, and cooperated with local police forces in connection with raids and arrests necessitated by his investigations. William Woods, a retired Jersey City police captain, formerly in charge of its Detective Bureau, served as his assistant for a time. Captain Woods described plaintiff as "a very good detective" and stated that he was fully competent to be hired as such by a police department. Woods also stated that many of the things he did for the Welfare Board were similar to what he had done while on the police force.
Schulman testified that he has attended refresher courses, lectures and seminars regarding his work as an investigator. In 1967 he took and passed a written examination and became a licensed detective in New York. In addition, ...