ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced Monday that the annual Public Safety Youth Academy kicked off last week. Some 35 children from the Essex County area, mostly Newark, will spend the next three weeks learning about police and fire. 

“The goal of this program is to foster relationships between youth and people who work in public safety. These young people will learn about our jobs and get an opportunity to meet firefighters, prosecutors and others in law enforcement up close,’’ said Acting Prosecutor Murray. “We believe it is a valuable experience for the youth and for us.’’

Acting Prosecutor Murray said the program, which is offered to children between the ages of nine to 12, is a joint initiative with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff, Newark Police and the Newark Fire Department. 

Sign Up for E-News

Sheriff Armando Fontoura was a big hit, on Tuesday, opening day, when he deputized the children and told them they will now be able to arrest anyone except their parents, according to Murray.

Among other things, the students will be given tours of the Historic Court House, the Police Academy, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Crime Scene Unit and the Fire Department. They will also learn about gangs and even have fun trips to the Turtleback Zoo and the Newark Museum.

There is a graduation ceremony planned for the youth on Aug. 7.