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Fifty-nine cadets, including two pairs of siblings, made up the twentieth “basic class” of police officers graduating at last week’s Mercer County Police Academy commencement at Mercer County Community College (MCCC).

After enduring 21 weeks of training in all aspects of law enforcement, graduates will now serve in at least 18 different police agencies within Mercer County and elsewhere (for complete list, see below).

Before several hundred family members, friends, Mercer County dignitaries and law enforcement officials from around New Jersey, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes congratulated the graduates and assured them they would have the full support of their communities.

“As you join the ranks of your fellow police officers, wherever you will serve, do so with the full understanding that your commitment and sacrifice is appreciated by each and every one of us here,” Executive Hughes said.

Alexandra Brice, who will join the Ewing Police Department and was chosen by her fellow graduates as class speaker, said the Academy had prepared the class for this challenging career.

“It’s job is not for everyone,” Brice said. “It will be hard, dirty, and tiring, but that’s why the 59 of us are graduating today. We have proven our strength and determination to always be better. Perseverance is in our blood. [And we] can proudly boast our class quote, ‘Through struggle comes strength.'”

The class also heard words from Police Academy Director Martin Masseroni; Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler; Dr. Jianping Wang, MCCC president; and Ewing Police Chief John Stemler III, vice president of the Mercer County Chiefs of Police Association. Also in attendance were Freeholders Ann Cannon, John Cimino and Nina Melker, and Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora.

The graduating class included sister-and-brother Chelsea and Stephen Arnold of Ewing, who will join the Ewing Police Department, and twin brothers Christian and George Suarez Jr. of Trenton, who will become Trenton police officers.

During training, the class studied in disciplines such as use of force, firearms, vehicle pursuit, hostage negotiation, advanced crime scene processing, and domestic violence prevention, among others. Several cadets received awards at the graduation ceremony for their excellence in training. Joseph Toth III, who is joining the Ewing Police Department, was chosen by his classmates to receive the Certificate of Merit awarded by the N.J. Police Training Commission to the best all-around graduate. Chelsea Arnold, Ewing Police Department, received the academic award; Stephen Arnold, Ewing Police Department, earned the firearms qualification award with a perfect score; Jacob Lloyd, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, received the physical training award; and Orlando Santiago, Trenton Police Department, received the emergency vehicle operations award.

The Mercer Police Academy was created in October 2006, and is located on the grounds of MCCC. The Academy consists of two classrooms specially designed for the needs of law enforcement training, and recruits use MCCC grounds, its library and its gymnasium for training purposes. The campus includes a padded training room that is used for “defensive tactics” classes. A shooting range in Hopewell Township operated by the prosecutor’s office is part of the Academy as well.

The following is a list of the graduates and the law enforcement agency each will join. (Alternate Route trainees attend the Academy at their own expense and now can pursue employment as a certified police officer.)

Alternate Route :Dillon Kelly, Hamilton; Luis Martinez-Balbuena, Lawrence; Joseph Randazzo, Chesterfield; John Robol, Spring Lake Heights

Bordentown City Police Department: Kyle Kafer, Bordentown

Bordentown Township Police Department: Chase Potocny, Bordentown

Bridgewater Township Police Department: Matthew Hoelzel, Middlesex

East Orange Police Department: Verashone Edwards and Kiyana Jones, both of Newark

Ewing Police Department: Chelsea Arnold, Stephen Arnold, Alexandra Brice and Joseph Toth III, all of Ewing

Hamilton Police Division: Sean Dorney, Todd Oakley Jr. and Paula Welsh, all of Hamilton

Lawrence Township Police Department: Liubove Bjorklund, Lawrence

Linden Police Department: Michael Amaral, Richard Arnold and Joshua Sheehy, all of Linden

Mercer County Sheriff’s Office: Matthew Pisani, Hamilton

Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office: Silveria Gomez, North Brunswick; Valerie Aguirre, Woodbridge; Fred Asante, Old Bridge; Robert Carroll Jr., New Brunswick; Michael Collins, Milltown; Jacob Geyer, North Brunswick; Thomas Hammel, Richard McElroy, Max Pavlis, Gerard Politi, Alexander Snyder, and Tyler Switalski,

Pemberton Township Police Department: Alexander Hamilton and Phillip Macey III, both of Browns Mills

Princeton University Campus Police: Kevin Chen and Thomas Glospie, both of Hamilton

Somerset County Sheriff’s Office: Alan August Jr., Bridgewater

Somerville Police Department: Trevor Baldwin, Flemington

South Amboy Police Department: Timothy Kales, Patrick Kelly and Glorianni Rutkowski, all of South Amboy

The College of New Jersey Police Department: Kevin Cullen, Edison; Kyle Pukenas, Florence

Trenton Police Department: Marvin Hebert Jr., Nadia Lopez, Oniel Machado-Roman, Alexandria Nelson, Alan Reasoner, Orlando Santiago, Samantha Soto, Christian Suarez, George Suarez Jr., Chaliea Tarr, Ja’Neice Worley and Gianni Zappley, all of Trenton

Warren County Sheriff’s Office: Jacob Lloyd, Hackettstown; Michael Sammarone, Blairstown

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