FREEHOLD, NJ — Four high school students from Belmar were among 119 recruits who graduated from Monmouth County’s 25th Annual Sheriff Youth Week program.

Richler Innocent, Jessica Neigel, Cole Young and Sam Young received their certificates of completion during the program’s commencement ceremonies, held on July 14 at the Monmouth County Police Academy.

The Sheriff Youth Week offers high-school age students the unique opportunity to explore interests in law enforcement through police academy-style training, exercise activities and instructional sessions.

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“I’m proud of the entire Sheriff Youth Week class for staying the course and commend them for completing this intensive week of law enforcement training,” said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden. “The program provides the graduates with an opportunity to explore the realm of possibilities of a career in public safety. As a result, many will become our future leaders in law enforcement.”

Held from July 10 through 14, each day began with drill and ended with exercise. During the week, the class learned about various law enforcement topics and agencies. An overview of the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office Law Enforcement Division and the 9-1-1 Communications Division were provided, and a tour of the Monmouth County Correctional Division was conducted.

Interactive sessions included mock drills from the Corrections Emergency Response Team and the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team. 

A major focal point of the week was when recruits spent the day at the Situational Training And Response Simulator (STARS) facility, where they got an up-close look at the VirTra Simulator — a decision-making and tactical firearms virtual threat simulator that is equipped with five large screens and shows real-life types of scenarios.

In addition, a variety of demonstrations were conducted by the K-9 Unit, drone and dive teams, and representatives of the Project Lifesaver Program, which tracks people with Alzheimer’s disease and autism when they become missing. Recruits also learned about motor vehicle stops, special operations and equipment, gang and drug awareness, internet safety, background checks, basic first aid, and the importance of an entire regimen of health and fitness.

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