Five new Princeton police officers sworn into office

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Five new police officers have joined the ranks of the Princeton Police Department.

They were sworn into office at the Princeton Council’s Sept. 26 meeting. They were among nearly 200 applicants for the job openings, officials said.

Four of the newly appointed police officers – Kenneth Kim, Mateus Serrano, Fredy Ticona and Melody Van Ness – began their training at the Mercer County Police Academy Sept. 5, said Police Chief Jon Bucchere.

Once they complete basic police training, they will be assigned to a field training officer. They should be qualified for full patrol duties by May 2024, Bucchere said.

“The five candidates performed exceptionally throughout every facet of the recruitment and selection process. They represent a bright future for our police department,” he said.

Jesse Rund, who is the fifth appointee, is a fully trained police officer who transferred from another police department. He has been assigned to a field training officer.

Kim is a graduate of Edison High School and John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Serrano was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He received an associate’s degree from the County College of Morris.

Ticona graduated from Immaculata High School in Somerville, and is continuing his education at Raritan Valley Community College.

Van Ness went to Somerville High School and received a bachelor’s degree from St. Francis College.

Rund graduated from Colts Neck High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. He transferred to the Princeton Police Department from the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department.

Bucchere said recruitment and selection of police officers has become more challenging, so the police department made some changes in its recruitment process, such as holding an open house for prospective police officers.

“I credit Captain Christopher Tash with developing and integrating an open house into our recruitment process. This allowed the candidates and our officers to learn more about each other,” Bucchere said.

Police officer applicants are given a physical fitness test. Those who pass the physical fitness test move on to screening interviews and panel interviews with officers of each rank, he said.

An initial background investigation is conducted, followed by post-background investigation interviews. The Public Safety Committee interviews the top candidates.

Bucchere is pleased with the results. The new police officers are the culmination of a long, successful recruitment process, he said.

“We achieved our goal of identifying a talented, diverse group of individuals that will serve the Princeton community for years to come,” Bucchere said.