NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – In an effort to help graduating seniors prepare for life after high school, the Somerset County Police Academy will hold two free programs this spring.

Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson and Somerset County Police Academy Director Dr. Richard Celeste announced last week that the “Personal Safety for High School Seniors” program – open to all graduating seniors enrolled in a county high school – will be held April 11 and May 4. Participants need to attend only one of the three-hour long sessions, and pre-registration is required with space limited.

Following graduation, young men and women may chose to go away to college while others may enter the work force or remain at home, taking advantage of the county’s many available resources and opportunities. The ‘Personal Safety for High School Seniors’ program is intended to prepare graduating seniors with an additional life skill set, specifically, the ability to identify potential real world safety concerns and to provide suggestions and training on how to respond to a variety of situations.

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“The program will benefit the student moving on to college with the challenges of campus life as well as the students moving in the workforce,” said North Plainfield Police Chief William Parenti, who also serves as president of the Somerset County Association of Chiefs of Police. “Moving from the safe school environment into real life’s in next phase will present challenges and being prepared will aid them greatly.”

Topics of discussion at the ‘Personal Safety’ program will include victimization, predators, situational awareness, personal safety tips, identifying potential safety issues, dealing with a physical confrontation, being a good witness and basic unarmed defense techniques.

"In my opinion, the greatest confidence in personal defense comes from knowledge and training,” said Green Brook Township Police Chief G. Christopher Kurz. “To learn the basics of situational awareness and techniques that can be used to address physical confrontation is essential in helping a young adult from potentially becoming a victim.”

Somerset County Police Academy’s ‘Personal Safety for High School Seniors’ program will be held at the Somerset County Public Safety Center located at 402 Roycefield Road in Hillsborough Township. The program is free and participants need only attend one session, however, those interested in attending must sign up in advance by April 7.

Registration is limited to 50 high school seniors per session with parents/guardians also welcome to attend.

“The Somerset County Police Academy has an outstanding reputation of nurturing programs for our young men and women [and] I highly recommend this program to all graduates,” said Parenti.

Kurz added, “I believe this program provides an exceptional opportunity for high school seniors to receive real world information and instruction that can help them with maintaining both personal safety and the safety of others around them.”

To register for the ‘Personal Safety for High School Seniors’ program, visit the Somerset County Police Academy website at www.somersetcountypoliceacademy.com and click on ‘Community Events.’ For additional information, contact Detective Brian Giannini of the Somerset County Police Academy at (908) 541-5038/giannini@co.somerset.nj.ius. Residents are also encouraged to follow the Somerset County Police Academy on Facebook.