TOMS RIVER, NJ - Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, presented badges to New Jersey’s newest state troopers during graduation ceremonies at Pine Belt Arena on August 29.
Sparta resident Phelan Livingston was one of the five Sussex county residents that graduated with the 154th Recruit Class. James Celi from Sandyston, Adam Finch from Andover, Daniel Rogdiguez from Stanhope and Bernard Wawzyanick from Wantage were the other Sussex county graduates.
The 154th New Jersey State Police class started with 200 recruits and graduated 149 troopers. Of this graduating class, approximately one-third are minority graduates, approximately 80% have a Bachelor's Degree or higher, 40% played college sports, 25% have prior law enforcement experience, and 21% have prior military experience (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, and Coast Guard).
The 154th class completed 24 weeks of strenuous physical and academic training consisting of exhaustive classroom and practical training scenarios. The recruits participated in extensive training and role-playing exercises focused on motor vehicle stops, domestic violence situations, human dignity, and cultural diversity. In the area of cultural diversity, the trooper recruits received detailed instruction from both State Police instructors and instructors from community and cultural organizations.
The life of a New Jersey State Police recruit is challenging in many ways. The New Jersey State Police Training Academy is one of the few residential academies in the nation. Recruits report to the academy on Monday, and they do not return home until dismissal on Friday. During this time, recruits are away from their families during significant life events. While this class was in the academy, nine recruits endured a family death, one recruit got married and 10 recruits got engaged. With all of these events happening, the graduating recruits maintained their focus and concentration to successfully complete their training.
"Today's graduating class includes approximately one-third minority graduates, which continues a welcome diversity trend within the State Police ranks," said Governor Chris Christie. "Together with the 152nd and 153rdClasses, these new troopers represent another step in our continuing effort to develop and maintain a State Police force that reflects the diverse population it serves."
"The State Police is not only recognized as one of the finest statewide law enforcement agencies in the nation and the most visible symbol of law enforcement throughout our state, but every individual who wears a trooper's badge is recognized as a leader -- on the road, in his or her neighborhood, and in the community at large," said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. "That is why it is vital that those leaders not only receive exhaustive training, but also reflect the character and composition of our great state."
"The intensive training that troopers received and the friendships they forged over the past 24 weeks will stay with them for their entire careers and beyond," said Colonel Rick Fuentes. "The life of a New Jersey State Trooper is more challenging than ever, but in return they are rewarded by protecting and serving our communities. As these men and women proudly wear our uniform, they will be viewed as role models and leaders. Being a New Jersey State Trooper is more than a job; it's a responsibility to lead by example."
Each applicant applying to the State Police is required to have a Bachelor’s Degree, or alternatively, a minimum of 60 college credits, plus two years of work experience. The probationary troopers will be assigned to stations throughout the state, and over the next 11 weeks, the new troopers will begin their careers under the watchful eye of their Trooper-Coaches and supervisors.
The following is a breakdown of the 154th class
American Indian Male
American Indian Female