The sixth class of the Youth Police Academy graduated on June 29 after completing a one-week course designed to expose them to the functions of the police department.
The academy program, designed to bridge the gap between the members of the police department and the youth of Cranford, included 31 cadets from Cranford between the ages of 11 and 14.
“The primary goal of the Youth Police Academy is to encourage open communication between Cranford youth and the members of the Cranford Police Department," Cranford Police Chief Eric Mason said.
Each academy day started with one hour of physical fitness and military drill practice led by Patrolman Joseph Stulpin followed by classroom lectures and demonstrations. Detective Robert Montague and Patrolman Steven D’Ambola coordinated training sessions designed to familiarize the cadets with the roles of Cranford police officers, as well as the functions of various county and state law enforcement agencies. During the week, cadets received classroom lectures and practical exercises on police department structure, patrol operations, motor vehicle stops, investigative techniques, DWI, first aid/CPR, firearms safety, gang awareness, and traffic investigations.
Demonstrations were presented by the Cranford Police Department’s Water Rescue Unit, Firearms Unit, Investigative Division, Traffic Division and Juvenile Bureau. Additional presentations were made by the Cranford Fire Department Emergency Medical Services, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Union County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit, New Jersey State Police Gang Unit, Union County Bomb Squad, Union County SWAT/UCERT, Union County Homicide Task Force, and Union County Gangs, Guns, Drugs, and Violent Crime Task Force.
Family and friends of the cadets attended the graduation ceremony held at the John H. Stamler Police Academy in Scotch Plains. Captain Joseph Van Bergen and academy instructor Patrolman Steven D’Ambola led the graduation ceremonies. During the ceremony, family and friends were given an overview of the Youth Academy Program. The highlight of the graduation was a video and slide show depicting the weeklong training experience. All graduating cadets
received certificates for their participation in the program.