ELIZABETH – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman and Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, presented badges to New Jersey’s newest state troopers during graduation ceremonies at Elizabeth High School this morning. The 152nd State Police Class is the most racially diverse in the history of the State Police, with 54 percent of the graduates coming from minority groups.
“The New Jersey State Police has a well-earned reputation as one of the finest statewide policing organizations in the nation. It got that reputation by selecting and training top-flight trooper candidates, by maintaining a commitment to excellence in the law enforcement mission, and by understanding the need to change in a changing world,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman. “Consistent with these priorities, I am pleased to say that the members of the 152nd Class represent the most diverse graduating class in State Police history.”
“The role of the New Jersey state trooper is constantly evolving. You will serve as homeland security guardians, roadside rescuers, crime detectives, and even inner-city cops,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes. “The academy has prepared you well, and now your trooper-coaches will continue your training as we welcome you to our enlisted ranks.”
Eighty-six percent of the 152nd Class has a Bachelor’s Degree or higher; 30 percent played college sports; 15 percent has prior military service (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard); and several graduates have previous law enforcement or emergency management experience.
“The 91 men and women of the 152nd Class entered on day one as individuals, and are now leaving as a unified team. They successfully completed the transformation from civilian to highly-skilled law enforcement professional, and are ready to begin their careers as protectors of the citizens of New Jersey,” said Julian Castellanos, Commandant of the New Jersey State Police Academy.
Among the graduates was recruit Patrick Cassidy, a former United States Marine, who was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps commendation medal for his heroic actions during combat in Iraq. While at the academy, Cassidy was also a standout recruit earning three separate awards. The Superintendent’s Award for cooperation, leadership and unselfish efforts, the Father Grady Award for high academic honors, and the Dennis William Zilinski II Military Service Award. Another standout recruit, Rashad Lewis, was able to overcome many personal challenges. Lewis went on to receive a track and field scholarship to Villanova University, and became an eight time Big East Conference champion in track and field.
The 152nd Class completed 24 weeks of strenuous physical and academic training consisting of exhaustive classroom and practical training scenarios. The recruits participated in extensive training and role-playing exercises focused on domestic violence situations, human dignity, and cultural diversity. In the area of cultural diversity, the trooper recruits received detailed instruction from experts outside of the State Police, including representatives from ethnic, cultural, community, and professional organizations.
Each applicant applying to the State Police is required to have a bachelor’s degree or, alternatively, a minimum of 60 college credits, plus two years of work experience. The probationary troopers will be assigned to stations throughout the state and over the next 11 weeks, the new troopers will begin their careers under the watchful eye of their Trooper-Coaches and supervisors.
During fiscal year 2014, the State Police will graduate two classes, the 152nd and the 153rd which is scheduled to graduate in December. Two additional classes, the 154th is scheduled to start in March and the 155th is scheduled to start in May 2014. The 154th and 155th will graduate in fiscal year 2015.
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