BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ -- The first class of the summer at the Berkeley Heights Police Youth Academy graduated on Friday, July 20, following a week of exciting and educational activities.

The program began with a presentation of a $1,000 check from Dr. Patrick Smith, the race director of the Berkeley Heights 5K. The proceeds from the run/walk go to support community activities through a foundation Dr. Smith started more than 20 years ago. This is the seventh year of the Police Youth Academy  program and the seventh check presented to the Youth Police Academy from the foundation.

Police Chief John DiPasquale welcomed the participants and the many parents, siblings, grandparents and friends of the graduates. He also thanked the many people and organizations who assisted with the program.

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Students started the week by a visit from the State Police Helicopter, and over the course of the week, learned about the fire suppression from Deputy Fire Chief Jim Hopkins; and were visited by the a member of the Union County Sheriff's K-9 program; the Union County Bomb Squad; Union County SWAP Team; an EMT Dispatcher and members of the Rescue Squad. 

School Resource Officer Ed Gaffney and Detective William Fettes ran the program. Also assisting were two former graduates of the program, Nick Gamba and Darren DelDuca.

This is only the first week of the academy. More will be held throughout the summer.