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Mercer County Police Academy graduates largest class of officers

Post Date:02/13/2015

An audience of more than 800 family members, friends, and members of a number of law enforcement agencies witnessed the class of 80 cadets receive graduation certificates to officially make them police officers.

The commencement was held inside Kendall Hall at The College of New Jersey and featured the cadets proudly wearing the uniforms of the respective law enforcement agency each will join.

The graduates endured 21 weeks of training at the academy in all aspects of law enforcement and will now serve in many different Police Departments within Mercer County and elsewhere (see complete list below). The cadets are the 12th police class of the Academy, which was created in October 2006 and provides a facility and resources to train law enforcement recruits in Mercer County. The academy is located on the grounds of Mercer County Community College.

Academy Director Al Paglione offered his congratulations to the 80 graduates, many of whom reside outside the Mercer County area, and spoke about the academy's role in preparing such a large, diverse class for careers in law enforcement. The diversity of the class, he said, was synonymous with the diversity of the profession they had chosen.

"On any given day, you're called upon to be a counselor, a psychologist, an authority, an enforcer, a protector, a friend, a paramedic, just to name a few," he said. "It's what's expected of every officer during any call for service or assistance."

Megan Erkoboni, a Hamilton resident who will join the West Windsor Police Department, was chosen by her fellow graduates as class speaker. She spoke of the difference between strength, which she said each recruit possessed when he or she entered the academy, and toughness, which they acquired during their grueling 21 weeks of training.

"We have made a series of choices day after day, choosing not to quit, and it has made us tough," she said. "We may have come in strong but we needed to be made tough, and there is a difference. Strong exerts force; tough withstands force. Strong is power while tough is endurance.

"Strong might be how you start out, but tough is what you are when you are finished. Tough is a result. It is our result."

Also addressing the class were Mercer County Prosecutor Joseph L. Bocchini Jr.; Agent Stephen Notta, prosecutor's liaison to the Police Academy; and Samuel Plumeri Jr., vice chairman of the New Jersey State Parole Board.

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. Steven Austin, who is joining the Trenton Police Department, was chosen by his classmates for the merit award from the N.J. Police Training Commission as the best all-around graduate. Paulina Halat, Lawrence Police Department, received the academic award; Anthony Robbins, Hunterdon County Sheriff's Office, received the emergency vehicle operations award; Dashawn Cribb, Princeton Police Department, and Megan Erkoboni, West Windsor Police Department, shared the physical training award; and five officers, all of whom registered perfect scores, shared the firearms qualification award -- Bartosz Chojnowski, Lawrence Police Department; Caitlin Grant, Ewing Police Department; Abdelbasset Jibbou, Ewing Police Department; Carl Kaasik, Woodbridge Police Department; and Luis Ruiz Jr., Ewing Police Department.

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 academy is open to both Mercer County and non-County residents.

The following is a list of the graduates, their hometowns, and the law enforcement agency each will join:

Joel B. Adams of Hamilton, Mercer County Sheriff's Office; Rosemarie J. Addar of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Keith W. Alexander of Bordentown, Bordentown Twp. Police Department;Jonathan C. Ambler of North Brunswick, North Brunswick Police Department; Mario J. Aochoa of Woodbridge, Woodbridge Police Department; Peter H. Applemann Jr. of Bordentown, Bordentown Twp. Police Department; Steven J. Austin of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Jonathan S. Bagof Ewing, Ewing Police Department; Alberto J. Barboza of Trenton, Trenton Police Department;Alberto Bonilla Jr. of Milford, Hunterdon County Sheriff's Office; Jason B. Bouchard of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Nicholas W. Brower of Ewing, Ewing Police Department; Kyle S. Brunoof Bergenfield, Rutgers University Police Department; Bartosz Chojnowski of Lawrenceville, Lawrence Police Department; Anthony Colon of Perth Amboy, Perth Amboy Police Department; Craig P. Conk of Hamilton, Bordentown City Police Department; Jose M. Corado of Lawrenceville, Lawrence Police Department; Jonathan Coronado of Perth Amboy, Perth Amboy Police Department; Dashawn J. Cribb of Princeton, Princeton Police Department; Frank E. Cristiano of Perth Amboy, Perth Amboy Police Department; Adam A. Edwards of Bordentown, Bordentown Twp. Police Department; David T. Edwardson of Burlington, Burlington City Police Department; Mark E. Eggert Jr. of Lawrenceville, Lawrence Police Department; Megan G. Erkoboni of Hamilton, West Windsor Police Department;Ciara A. Feliciano of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Brittney A. Fornarotto of Ewing, Ewing Police Department; Stephen C. Gabos of Lopatcong, Lopatcong Police Department; John M. Gannon Jr. of Cinnaminson, Cinnaminson Police Department; Gloria E. Garcia of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Estevon A. Gonzales of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Jose A. Gonzalez of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Brenna K. Grant of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Caitlin P. Grant of Ewing, Ewing Police Department; Paulina A. Halat of Lawrenceville, Lawrence Police Department; Olix V. Heredia III  of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Kyle A. Hess of Cinnaminson, Cinnaminson Police Department; Matthew J. Hutchinson of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Abdelbasset Jibbou of Ewing, Ewing Police Department; Carl Kaasik of Avenel, Woodbridge Police Department; Hana K. Kang of North Brunswick, North Brunswick Police Department; Edward W. Lester of Ewing, Ewing Police Department; Sh'Quanah M. Lopez of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Jennifer M. Lynn of Hamilton, Mercer County Sheriff's Office;Ryan M. MacMillan of North Brunswick, North Brunswick Police Department; Jason M. Maloney of Hamilton, Mercer County Sheriff's Office; John Joseph Maloney III of Tabernacle, Delanco Police Department; Marc Manfredi of Hamilton; Mercer County Sheriff's Office; Dennis Marte of Perth Amboy, Perth Amboy Police Department; Brendan T. McGarry of Belvidere, Independence Police Department; Sean P. McLaren of Hamilton, Hamilton Police Division; Jorge Mejia of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Christopher M. Messick of Ewing, Ewing Police Department; Nycole T. Miller of Ewing, Ewing Police Department; Anthony C. Nagle of Bordentown, Bordentown Twp. Police Department; James A. Nammoura of Flemington, Hunterdon County Sheriff's Office; Nelson NievesJr. of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Joseph R. Nisky of Colonia, Woodbridge Police Department; Peter J. Novobilsky of Hopewell, Mercer County Sheriff's Office; Cory J. Oberberger of Colonia, Woodbridge Police Department; Mohamed A. Omara of Ewing, Ewing Police Department;Christopher Ortiz of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Nirav D. Patel of Iselin, Woodbridge Police Department; Enmanuel Peña of Perth Amboy, Perth Amboy Police Department; Domingo Perez of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Marcin J. Piegza of Lawrenceville, Lawrence Police Department;Alison E. Pollini of Plainsboro, West Windsor Police Department; Anthony M. Robbins of Ringoes, Hunterdon County Sheriff's Office; Luis A. Ruiz Jr. of Ewing, Ewing Police Department; Dean C. Sawasky of Lawrence, Lawrence Police Department; William G. Schneider of Colonia, Woodbridge Police Department; Alicia J. Tara of Lawrenceville, Lawrence Police Department; Miguel A. Torres Jr.of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Christopher J. Trokovich of North Brunswick, North Brunswick Police Department; Justin M. Ubry of Ewing, Ewing Police Department; Matthew J. Ubry of Lawrenceville, Lawrence Police Department; Gregory A. Varina of Great Meadows, Independence Police Department; Anthony Villanueva of Trenton, Trenton Police Department; Adam L. Wills of Pemberton, Pemberton Police Department; Kanifah M. Wood of Trenton, Trenton Police Department;Eric W. Woodrow of Hamilton, West Windsor Police Department.

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