SOMERSET, NJ - The Franklin Township Police Department’s Youth Academy cadets graduated on Friday after a week of training and classes with the department.

The five-day program allowed the class to hear from a variety of law enforcement and emergency services personnel, including Somerset County’s SWAT team, two demonstrations from K-9 units, the Somerset County Dive Rescue Unit, Homeland Security and Somerset County Prosecutor Michael Robertson.

The ceremony began with a slideshow giving parents a glimpse into the life off the cadets, showing the physical training, classes and visits from other law enforcement they experienced. 

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Unlike other summer programs for young adults, not everyone makes it through the rigors of the academy. The week began with 33 cadets with 23 of them making it to graduation. 

“These young men and women earned their seats up here today,” Sgt. Anthony Bisignano said. “They did it, they persevered and they earned their spot.” 

Mayor Phillip Kramer also praised the graduating cadets for their commitment to the program. 

“You have just gone through a really impressive week,” he said. “The first thing you did was sign up. That was a major step and that put you above your peers. Then you finished, and that put you above your peers more. You are future leaders; you’ve done an impressive thing.”

During the ceremony, the officers and officials stressed the graduating class that their experiences over the past week should serve as a reminder that hard work pays off. That they shouldn’t let anyone tell them their goals are out of their reach. 

However, they should always look for the people, like the officers who volunteered to work with them over the past week, who want to help them. 

“Here’s the key to success: hard work and dedication,” Somerset County Chief of Detectives and officer-in-charge of FTPD John Fodor told cadets. “And as you grow and move through your career there will be people along the way that will help you. These officers, me, your parents. So what I’d like you to do is take advantage of that.” 

The mayor also singled out the cadet’s parents as not only a support network, but as a major factor in them graduating the academy.

“These are great kids, they demonstrated that by getting here,” Kramer said. “Great kids don’t just happen. They happen because they have great parenting.” 

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