HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -- The Hasbrouck Heights Junior Police Academy welcomed its 19th recruit class in June. The 22 eighth grade recruits spent one week under the direction of Sergeant Alan Baker of the Hasbrouck Heights Police Department and, Hasbrouck Heights Middle School Social Studies teacher/district coordinator Michael Stillman. along with the assistance of graduates from the program.
Each day the class learned lessons from different law enforcement agencies. The SWAT team visited and demonstrated how they approach a vehicle stop. The officers explained how they do their job, to protect both themselves and the suspect without anyone getting hurt. The recruits visited and toured the Bergen County Jail and had a demonstration from the Bergen County Sheriff’s K9 Unit.
The class and instructors went to New York to visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the Freedom Tower. They also had a special guest speaker from the Secret Service.
Zack Cali said he was "grateful to have the opportunity to go to the 9/11 Memorial as well as go atop a neighboring tower." He found the tour the of museum both "interesting and sad at the same time."
On the final day, the class participated in a flag raising ceremony at the Hasbrouck Heights Police Memorial on the Boulevard and Central Avenue. They learned about the police officer who died in the line of duty.
”It was great to get an inside look at the training people like my dad have to go through in order to become a police officer," said Luke Kest. "I loved all of the physical training we cadets received as well as the field training. It was such a great week”
Graduation was held at the Hasbrouck Heights VFW on June 29. Company commander Evan Morrow gave a speech recapping the week's highlights for the class.
“I thought it would be like a real police academy, which it was," Morrow said after the graduation ceremony. "Presenters came in and talked to us about their lives on the police force and we did push-ups, sit-ups and learned to salute.
"My favorite presenter was the Secret Service agent who was with the president in Singapore, " Morrow continued. "He spoke about how the Secret Service was created, what it was originally used for and how they guard the president. I’m looking forward to returning next year to help with next years class.”
Hasbrouck Heights Police Chief Michael Colaneri Sr. addressed the group.
"I am very impressed with you, your behavior, your dedication," Colaneri, stated. "I believe we have some future police officers in this room."
Chief Colaneri also recognized the "great partnership" the police has with the Board of Education, He also thanked Council members Ron Kistner and Josephine Ciocia, who were in attendance.
"With everything we do for the children in our community, the Mayor and Council are behind it 100 percent," he said.
Colaneri also thanked the members of the SWAT team, Port Authority Police Department, returning recruits from previous classes, teacher Michael Stillman, and donations from the Costa family and Shop Rite of Lodi/Inserra.
The graduation ceremony also featured an eight-plus minute class video highlighting the week's activities and the presentation of the certificates of completion.
“It was so great learning about all the different layers of law enforcement," said Lexi Kest. "We got to talk with and spend time with people who have guarded our presidents as well as our local police who guard our homes and schools. One of my favorite moments was when we went on a field trip to the World Trade Center. I was proud to be part of the Hasbrouck Heights police academy program.”
Hasbrouck Heights Junior Police Academy Recruit Class 19
Squad Leader—1 Emma Cunningham
Squad Leader—2 Luke Kest
Squad Leader—3 Hunter Freschi
Squad Leader—4 Megan Napolitano
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