MIDDLESEX COUNTY — Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and the Middlesex County Association of Chiefs of Police unveiled plans requiring new police officers to take additional training courses that will help them better understand procedures and the law.
The “New Officer Supplemental Training Program” was created to ensure that new police officers, who are trained at different police academies in the state, apply their knowledge in a professional and uniform fashion when they begin their careers at various police departments in Middlesex County.
Kaplan and members of his staff, with the assistance of the Association of Chiefs of Police, created a program that will review a range of procedures emphasizing the safety of residents while enforcing the law.
Included are courses that cover technology and intelligence gathering, bias crime, sex crime and domestic violence investigations, and administrative duties, such as writing reports, testifying in court and the ethical conduct that is expected of police officers.
“Middlesex County does not have a training academy for police recruits, so we send them to other academies in the state,” Kaplan said. “Since we have policies, procedures and directives that are unique to Middlesex County, it is hoped that through our supplemental training program, not only will we be able to reinforce what officers have learned at the academies, but that we will be able to instill in them our own policies, procedures and directives.”
“Middlesex County not only has the second largest population in the state, it has a mix of small towns, urban centers and rural areas,” said Freeholder Mildred S. Scott, Chair of the county’s Law and Public Safety Committee. “Customized, uniform training will enhance law enforcement response in mutual aid situations, when officers from a small town may be dispatched to an incident in a city center and vice versa. The supplemental training will enhance officer safety, thereby enhancing the safety of all our citizens.”
Every individual hired as a police officer, retroactive to January 1, 2010, will be required to take 21 hours of training over three days at the newly-renovated, state-of-the-art Middlesex County Police Training Center in Edison. The mandate applies to all 25 municipal police departments, as well as Rutgers University and Middlesex County College.
The training also will be available, but will not be mandatory, for officers hired before January 1, 2010.
Most of the instructors are Middlesex County assistant prosecutors who have practical experience in the fields in which they will be teaching. Instructors from the U.S. Office of Homeland Security and Protection, the New Jersey State Police, and the Middlesex County Fire Academy also will be available.
It is estimated that about 80 officers will be eligible to attend either of two training programs that will be held at the county Police Training Center in 2011. Since the beginning of this year, six municipal police departments, Rutgers University and Middlesex County College have hired a total of 30 new officers.
Officers must complete the training within two years of their appointment. They are expected to have served with their police department for at least six months before starting the training.
The program has the full endorsement of the municipal police chiefs and police directors in the county.
“The Middlesex County Association of Chiefs of Police is committed to ensuring all law enforcement officers in Middlesex County are properly trained,” said John J. Kraivec, chief of the Monroe Township Police Department and association president.
“A new law enforcement officer has many responsibilities and duties. The New Officer Supplemental Training Program will target specific areas that will assist them with their job performance,” Kraivec said.
“We are proud to be working in conjunction with Prosecutor Kaplan and his staff on this training initiative. The new Police Training Center will be the ideal site to complete this valuable training,” the chief said.
Officers will register for the program through their respective police departments.
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