The Mercer County Police Academy has graduated its 28th basic class of 44 cadets.
An audience of several hundred family members, friends, Mercer County dignitaries and law enforcement officials from around state saw the cadets receive graduation certificates to officially make them police officers during a commencement held in the gymnasium at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) on Jan. 27, according to a press release through Mercer County.
The graduates endured 21 weeks of training at the academy in all aspects of law enforcement and will now serve in police agencies around the state. The academy, which was created in October 2006, is located on the grounds of MCCC.
Ian Palmer of Plainsboro, who will join the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office and was chosen by his fellow graduates as class speaker, noted that while class members didn’t all follow the same path to reach the Police Academy, they share certain things in common.
“Each of us is driven by a desire to better ourselves and our communities,” he said. “To be a leader and a role model for others, to be the person one can turn to for aid in their most dire of moments, during any crisis minor or substantial. To stand ready, willing and able to enforce and uphold the laws of this great nation for all those who reside within her as our oath commands us.”
Palmer reminded his classmates, as he said their instructors had, that they would have to earn everything they get throughout their careers.
“We will continue to be tested, and it is our duty to push beyond what we first thought ourselves able to achieve, as we have done since our first day together as a class,” he said.
Also addressing the class were Police Academy Director Martin Masseroni, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, Mercer County Sheriff John A. Kemler, County Commissioner Kristin L. McLaughlin; and Dr. Robert Schreyer, MCCC vice president.
During training, the class studied in disciplines such as use of force, firearms, vehicle pursuit, hostage negotiation, advanced crime scene processing and domestic violence prevention, among others. Several cadets received awards at the graduation ceremony for their excellence in training.
Tara Soscia, New Jersey Transit Police Department, was chosen by her classmates to receive the Certificate of Merit awarded by the N.J. Police Training Commission to the best all-around graduate; William Rafferty, Hamilton Police Division, received the academic award; Joshua Rosenel, New Jersey State Human Services Police Department, earned the firearms qualification award with a perfect score; Alim Djemilev, Ewing Township Police Department, received the physical training award; and Ian Gaynor, New Jersey Transit Police Department, received the emergency vehicle operations award.
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 following is a list of the graduates, their hometowns and the law enforcement agency each will join:
Bridgewater Township Police Department: Arthur Akins Jr., Somerville; Justin Anno, Ringoes; Hanif McClinton, Piscataway; Noel Rosado Jr., Metuchen; Masyn Sanchez, Dover.
Burlington County Sheriff’s Office: Andrew Farr, Medford; Joseph Iacovitti, Burlington.
Ewing Township Police Department: Gabriel Berdecia, Ewing; Alim Djemilev, Ewing; Estephan Hernandez, Ewing; Holly Oswald-Kardos, Ewing; Jason Ulrich, Ewing.
Hamilton Township Police Division: Thomas Horne, Hamilton; Todd Jewell, Hamilton; William Rafferty, Hamilton.
Lawrence Township Police Department: Stephen Sikora, Lawrence.
Mercer County Sheriff’s Office: Anthony Johnson, Hamilton.
Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office: Anthony Badawy, North Brunswick; Tyrone Cabbell, Perth Amboy; David Chehade, North Brunswick; Michael Cipriani, Piscataway; Christian Collazo, Woodbridge; Deanna Ehrhardt, North Brunswick; Craig Elliott, New Brunswick; Christopher Johnson, South Brunswick; Joseph Medina, Piscataway; Tyler Morris, Highland Park; Ian Palmer, Plainsboro; Ervin Ramos, Piscataway; Nicholas Smith, South Amboy.
New Jersey State Human Services Police Department: Michelle Pistone, Lumberton; Joshua Rosenel, Lambertville.
New Jersey Transit Police Department: Meryem Adina, Harrison; Julia Blahut, Pompton Plains; Nathalie Cook, Bayonne; Amber Crispin, Little Falls; Ian Gaynor, Point Pleasant Beach; Mark Schmidt, Woodland Park; Tara Soscia, Bayonne.
Pemberton Township Police Department: Cezar Martinez Nieto, Pemberton.
The College of New Jersey Police Department: Alex Mariani, Morrisville.
Trenton Police Department: Nicholas DiLissio, Hamilton.
Washington Township Police Department: Christopher Santamaria, Hackettstown; Anthony Spiridigliozzi, Washington.