EDISON, NJ - Six new Edison's police officers were among 111 graduates from the Essex County Public Safety Academy on Wednesday, and one new patrolman distinguished himself for academic achievement.

Officers John Douvas, Nicole Errico, Alan Esposito, Michael Gallant, Kevin McGotty and Michael Winters successfully completed an intensive 24-week basic police training course.

Officer Douvas received top honors at Wednesday's graduation ceremony for highest academic achievement in his class.

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“I am extremely proud that our Police Department's compliment of sworn officers is steadily growing, and that Edison is attracting and hiring well-qualified men and women to protect our residents,” Mayor Thomas Lankey said. “This clearly shows that Edison's stringent new hiring process is working.”

The six officers, bringing Edison's number of sworn officers to 170, will now receive in-house training in Police Department procedures before beginning 20-weeks of supervised on-duty patrol with a field training officer.

The officers were among seven recruits Edison hired in April. The seventh, Officer Michael Goldfarb, was already certified by state Police Training Commission (PTC) and was working as a Middlesex County sheriff's officer when Edison hired him.

The Police Department is in the midst of screening and interviewing applicants for a new round of police hiring, said Police Chief Thomas Bryan. The number of new officers will depend on available funding, but hiring is likely to be before the end of 2015. 

“Our focus is to hire the best qualified, PTC-certified applicants including some already working as police officers elsewhere,” Bryan said. “This would save tax dollars, and it would enable our department to put trained and qualified officers on Edison streets much sooner.”