Fifty-nine cadets, including two pairs of siblings, who made up the 20th basic class of police officers took part in the Mercer County Police Academy commencement held Feb. 1 at Mercer County Community College.
An audience of several hundred family members, friends, Mercer County dignitaries and law enforcement officials from around 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 at least 18 different police agencies within Mercer County and elsewhere.
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 the challenging career they have chosen.
“This job is not for everyone,” she said. “It will be hard, dirty and tiring, but that is why the 59 of us are graduating today. We have proven our strength and determination to always be better. Perseverance is in our blood. The class of 20-18 can proudly boast our class quote, ‘Through struggle comes strength.'”
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 NJ 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 following is a list of the graduates and the law enforcement agency each will join:
- 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