FAIRFIELD, NJ – Twelve Fairfield children, ages 10 through 12, recently took part in the department’s first junior police academy, where recruits received training and instruction in first aid, motor vehicle violations and a variety of other law enforcement topics over the course of several days.

One of the highlights of the junior academy was a trip to the, where recruits got to see the uniform worn by Fairfield Police E.R.T. members. Correction Officers were on hand to show the recruits the facility, discuss the intake process, court proceedings, transportation and care of inmates.

According to Fairfield Police Chief Anthony Manna, some recruits donned ECC Special Operations Group gear and all had the chance to speak with an inmate. It was an eye-opening experience for recruits as they heard the inmate talk about the mistakes he made at a young age and his jail experience.

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A second field trip to MetLife Stadium taught recruits about planning and organization of law enforcement for large scale events. According to the department, the kids toured the stadium along with the locker rooms of both the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

Recruits saw the New Jersey State Police Troop B Meadowlands headquarters then spoke with members of the New Jersey State Police T.E.A.M.S. unit, who showed them their equipment, abilities and the BEAR (armored vehicle) that they utilize. The day was concluded with lunch in the press box at the stadium.

Back at headquarters, recruits took part in drill instruction and physical training; were trained on defensive tactics, handcuffing and arrest procedures; sat in a Fairfield police car to conduct mock traffic stops; were instructed in building searches; and more.

“I would like to commend Sgt. John McNish and Detective Jeffrey Dean for facilitating the program, as well as Sgt. Frank Tracey and Officers Steven D’Argenio, Frank Patierno and Raymond Puluse for their assistance as well,” said Manna.

In other Fairfield police news, Manna announced on Monday that the Fairfield Police Department has received re-accreditation with a unanimous vote from the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.

“This is always a significant undertaking, as it certifies that our police department is conforming to 105 professional law enforcement standards,” said Manna.

Manna also announced that the police department has purchased its first motorcycle—a 2019 Harley Davidson.

“The motorcycle will be used for a variety of law enforcement purposes that include specialized traffic enforcement, escorts and most importantly, to enhance community relations,” he said.

According to Manna, the motorcycle can be used in places that are too small for other police vehicles to enter, such as the St. Thomas More carnival.

The motorcycle will be assigned to the department’s special enforcement unit and specifically to Officer Raymond Puluse, who recently completed the Maryland State Police motorcycle operator’s course.

“There is no doubt this acquisition will greatly enhance our department’s community policing initiative as we saw so many people flock around it at this year’s Independence Day fireworks celebration,” said Manna.

The acquisition of the motorcycle was made possible through a $30,000 contribution from the Columbia Bank Foundation to the Fairfield Police Foundation.

“Between the costs of the motorcycle, the necessary items needed to equip it and all the required uniform needs for the officer, it cost approximately $36,000 for this program to get underway,” said Manna. “But due to our friends at Columbia Bank and those at the Fairfield Police Foundation, no taxpayer dollars were spent to do this.”

The police department presented Columbia Bank Foundation chairperson Thomas Kemly and Victoria Bruce, manager of the bank’s Fairfield office, with the police department’s community policing partnership award.

In an effort to improve policing services to the community, the police department also recently purchased its first drone—a Mavic 2 Enterprise dual drone—assist Fairfield and other township agencies with a variety of practices.

“This item has great capabilities and enormous potential to help us with aerial reconnaissance during emergencies, event policing and searching for fleeing suspects both day and night with the use of thermal imaging technology,” said Manna.

The drone was purchased with use of forfeiture funds. John Seragusa, a Class 2 special police officer, presented the drone to the mayor and council for inspection.

According to Manna, the department seeks to purchase a second drone with the capability of being tethered for continual flight.

On Tuesday, Aug. 6, the police department will host its fifth annual National Night Out at the Hollywood Avenue recreation complex. The event will include free food, games and inflatables for children, a dunk tank and various handouts from local businesses, civic organizations and law enforcement agencies.

The event begins at 6 p.m. and will conclude with fireworks in honor of the fifth anniversary after dusk.

“[National Night Out] is always a great opportunity to meet and interact with the police officers who serve our community,” said Manna.  

This year, the police department is asking attendees to bring an item of non-perishable food items to be donated to those in need.

During Monday’s township council meeting, Fairfield Council President Thomas Morgan read a proclamation that included facts about National Night Out. Among the notable items was that there are 38 million neighbors in 16,000 communities taking part in the event this year.