MEDIA CONTACT: Julie Willmot
WEST WINDSOR, N.J. - Mercer County dignitaries and law enforcement officials from around the County gathered today to celebrate the graduation of the fifth class of corrections officers from the Mercer Police Academy.
An audience of hundreds of family members, friends, and members of a number of law enforcement agencies witnessed the impressive class of 30 cadets as each received graduation certificates to officially make them corrections officers.
The commencement was held inside Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College on March 21 and featured the cadets proudly wearing the uniforms of the county corrections departments they will join, which include Mercer, Middlesex, Camden, Burlington and Warren.
The graduates endured 10 weeks of training at the Academy in all aspects of law enforcement. The cadets are the fifth corrections class of the Academy, which was created in January 2007 and provides a facility and resources to train law enforcement recruits within Mercer County. The Academy is located on the grounds of Mercer County Community College.
Among the officials in attendance today were Mercer County Warden Charles Ellis, Freeholders Ann Cannon, Anthony Carabelli and Pasquale Colavita; and Dr. Donald "Guy" Generals, vice president for academic affairs at Mercer County Community College.
During training, the class studied in disciplines such as use of force, firearms and hostage negotiation, among others.
Jazmin L. Jones was chosen by her fellow graduates as class speaker. She told her class members that even though they entered the academy as individuals, through rigorous training and team-building work they have learned the importance of relying on each other and have become a family.
Three cadets also received awards for their excellence in training. Vincent Aroneo received the Academy Achievement Award; Jose Gonzalez, the Physical Training Award; and Preetkaran Singh, the Firearms Training Award.
"I congratulate these young men and women for working hard to accomplish their goals and fulfill their dreams by graduating from this academy," said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. "I have no doubt they are prepared for the challenges they will face."
The Mercer Police Academy consists of two classrooms specially designed for the needs of law enforcement training, and recruits use MCCC grounds, its library and its gymnasium for training purposes. The campus includes a padded training room that is used for "defensive tactics" classes. A shooting range in Hopewell Township operated by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office is part of the Academy as well.
The Academy is open to both Mercer County and non-County residents, and many recruits utilize "alternate route" status, in which the recruit pays his or her own way for training.
The following is a list of the graduates, their hometowns (all in New Jersey) and the county corrections department each will join:
Stephen Arnold of Ewing, Mercer; Vincent Aroneo of Plainsboro, Middlesex; Matthew Balzamo of Sayreville, Middlesex; Edward Beshada of Old Bridge, Middlesex; Germaine Bryson of Trenton, Mercer; Jayson Bullock of Fords, Middlesex; Carla Castro of Camden, Camden; Terrence Crawford of Ewing, Mercer; Christopher Crum of Ewing, Mercer; Gregory Danley of Hamilton, Mercer; Wilfredo Diaz of Piscataway, Middlesex; William Faulk of Camden, Camden; Jose Garcia of Camden, Camden; Jose Gonzalez of Trenton, Mercer; Steven Hengst of Oxford, Warren; Michael Huesser of Erial, Camden; Jazmin Jones of Ewing, Mercer; Nicholas Mauro of Hamilton, Mercer; Robert McClees of Trenton, Mercer; Matthew Mesday of Ewing, Mercer; Nicholas Nicolini of Hamilton, Mercer; Jose Ortiz of Sayreville, Middlesex; Jowana Phillips of Hamilton, Mercer; Jonathan Price of Pennsauken, Camden; Joseph Rosa of East Brunswick, Middlesex; Christopher Scheidhauer of Mount Ephraim, Camden; Preetkaran Singh of Iselin, Middlesex; Keyonnah Williams of Piscataway, Middlesex; Thomas Williams of Moorestown, Burlington; and Kaleb Wisner of Hope, Warren.