SPARTA, NJ – The patio of the Mohawk House was crowded with family and friends of the children that had participated in this year’s Junior Police Academy. They were there to watch as their children received medals and certificates for having completed the three days of training.
With sixty-six children, this is the largest class the Sparta police have seen so far according to Lt. John Lamon, the organizer. Addressing the crowd Lamon explained he had taken over the program last year and changed the curriculum, making it more of a hands on, experiential program, “because it’s hard to get kids this age to sit still to listen to a lecture.”
The change resonated with the children and the program had filled up several weeks before the start date. “I had people calling me the day before to try to get their children in,” Lamon said.
Chief Spidaletto was not able to attend but Det. Terrance Mulligan read a statement from the chief. He said he was “proud of how each of you excelled as the week progressed.” He said their “creativity and innovation has made it an interesting week, to say the least.”
Lamon said the program was “even more successful because it built on the success of last year.” The children had the opportunity to learn to fingerprint, use team work to get out of an escape room, use clues from a crime scene. They were visited by helicopters, dogs and robots. They were taught to use air soft guns and self defense moves.
“I was impressed with this class,” Lamon said. “We kept them busy. They listened and were focused.”
Five of the participant were given trophies, representing the best air soft target shooters of each grade;
- Romina Perri, fourth grade,
- Brandon Sangorski fifth grade,
- Charlie Canzonniero sixth grade,
- Owen Hassloch seventh grade,
- Paul Genat eighth grade
A big thank you went to Steve and Rachel Scro for hosting the lunch and being “our biggest sponsor,” Lamon said. The children were treated to ziti, sausage and peppers and hamburger sliders in the conservatory room.
“Farmers grow food, we grow people,” Scro said. “Eric Nielson [of Nielsen Automotive Group] and I partnered on this. We love building community. We cultivate community. This was special because there is a lot to be gained from this.”
Scro pointed to the “confidence, team building and respect for law enforcement,” that the children learned from the academy.
“My dream, my goal, the reason I built this restaurant is to be fortunate enough to give back to the community, to be a gathering place, to be a cornerstone in the community,” Scro said.
Alpha Squad - Jimmy Hyland, Maika Batchelor, Brady Ryan, Anya Corrado, Daniel Deangelis, Hunter Takacs, Ben Bialkin, Matthew Trela, Shaun Mackerley, Shea Harrison, Shannon Lloyd
Bravo Squad - Nick Hwang, Justin Smith, Owen Hassloch, Aidan Mahoney, Michael Cummings, Dillon Caswell, Nick Szabo, Jennifer Gordon, Parker Hein, Kai Bachelor, Romina Perri
Charlie Squad - Jason Wagoner, Luke Szabo, James Phillips, Jack Cummings, Aiden Parlapiano, Elliot Trento, Colin Ryan, Ethan COrrado, Patrick Dunn, Faith Kelly
Delta Squad - Jeff Bischoff, Billy Quinn, Justin Fontana, Chloe Rudloff, Charlie Mulligan, AIden Sharo, Jason Bischoff, Frankie Lloyd, Trevor Ferrigno, Ben Giralt, Brandon Sangorski
Echo Squad - Kevin Struble, Thomas Dynia, Caterina Kollar, Isabella Ruby, Jake Marcisak, Kelly Gordon, Brendan Del Coro, David Trela, Caden Mastemak, Rylan Gibbons, Tyler Mackerley
Foxtrot Squad - Daniel Cummings, Paul Gennat, Jack Scro, Isabella Dimichele, Louis Dynia, Gavin Denmead, Charlie Canzoniero, Jack Sacchiero, Hoshua Enberg, Athena Kollar, Amanda Ruby
In addition to Lamon, Sparta Police Officers Joe Antanello, Rick Smith, Taylor May, Rob Fraser and Jan Wright worked with the children at the academy.