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Forty-two cadets who made up the 21st basic class of police officers took part in last week’s Mercer County Police Academy commencement held in the gymnasium at Mercer County Community College (MCCC).

An audience of several hundred family members, friends, Mercer County dignitaries and law enforcement officials from around State of New Jersey saw the cadets receive graduation certificates to officially make them police officers. 

The graduates endured 21 weeks of training at the academy in all aspects of law enforcement and will now serve in police agencies within Mercer County and elsewhere (see complete list below). The academy, which was created in October 2006, is located on the grounds of MCCC.

Addressing the class were Police Academy Director Martin Masseroni, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri, Ewing Police Chief John Stemler III, vice president of the Mercer County Chiefs of Police Association; Dr. Jianping Wang, MCCC president; and Brandon Rios, who will join the Princeton Police Department and was chosen by his fellow graduates as class speaker. Also in attendance were Freeholders Ann Cannon, John Cimino, Pasquale Colavita and Lucylle Walter, and Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora. 

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. Brandon Rios 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. John McDonough, Bridgewater Township Police Department, received the academic award; Bryan Butchon, Alternate Route, earned the firearms qualification award with a perfect score; Christopher Cimilluca, Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, received the physical training award; and Charles Morreale, Lawrence Township Police Department, received the emergency vehicle operations award.

The Mercer Police 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, their hometowns 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: Anthony Aurelio, East Hanover; Bryan Butchon, Hamilton; Katarzyna Dziadosz, Linden; Joseph Green, Manville; and Colleen Murphy, Hamilton 

Bridgewater Township Police Department: John McDonough, South Plainfield

Burlington City Police Department: Jordan Gorleski and Najah Pruden, both of Burlington City 

Ewing Township Police Department: David Hartmann, Shane Miller and Thomas Piraino, all of Ewing

Hamilton Township Police Division: Paul Piromalli, Hamilton

Lawrence Township Police Department: Charles Morreale, Lawrence

Linden Police Department: William Ingram and Juan Smith, both of Linden

Mercer County Sheriff’s Office: Daniel Greiss, Hamilton; Tavaris Kelly, Trenton; Joseph Lucherini, Hamilton; and Richard McLaughlin, Hamilton

Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office: Omad Azam, Edison; Christopher Cimilluca, Colonia; Joseph Diaz, Old Bridge; Joe Fina, Piscataway; Lauren Gregory, Somerset; Sherman Harris, Edison; Janaysia James, Perth Amboy; Kyle O’Connor, Laurence Harbor; Brian Presti, Woodbridge; Desiree Reid, Old Bridge; and Raymond Smith, North Brunswick

Princeton Police Department: Erin Cipolloni, Hamilton; Dante Focarelli, Robbinsville; David Garcia, Edison; Terry King, Hamilton; Rebecca Nelson, Jackson; and Brandon Rios, Hamilton

Robbinsville Township Police Department: Allison Ricci, Helmetta

Somerset County Sheriff’s Office: Michael Kromar, Stewartsville; Bryan Russoniello, Branchburg; and Sean Simpson, Rahway

Trenton Police Department: Ronald Astbury, Hamilton; and Brandon Cook, Ewing

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