Photos by Art Schwartz
The 2019 Junior Police Academy in Guttenberg concluded at the end of August. About 30 young cadets got an inside look at the training that police and other first responders get, with a number of demonstrations, tours, lessons, and trips.
The program has been active for about nine years. Detective Steve Diaz has run the program for the past three summers.
The one-week summer course offers a crash course on what goes on inside a police academy, to help Guttenberg students learn several police procedures and what it takes to succeed in law enforcement.
The cadets received a tour of Guttenberg Police Headquarters, the local courtroom, and the Bergen County Police Academy.
They learned about first aid, CPR, and weapon and fire safety, and toured Liberty Island.
A grand finale
The action-packed week of training, field trips, and activities concluded with a celebration at James J. Braddock Park in North Bergen. The cadets watched firefighters from North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue rip a car to shreds with hydraulic rescue tools, better known as “jaws of life,” to demonstrate how the equipment is used to rescue people trapped inside a vehicle.
K9 units demonstrated how police dogs sniff out explosives and react to a dangerous threat, with a demonstration by German Shepherds Duli and Maximus of the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office.
Cadets were shown the inner workings of a North Bergen EMS vehicle to learn about ambulance crews. Fire hoses were used to create an impromptu splash park.
Guttenberg Mayor and Public Safety Director Wayne Zitt stopped by for a barbecue lunch, before the cadets marched across the park in formation to watch a New Jersey State Police medical evacuation helicopter touch down on flat ground.
The helicopter crew answered questions, let the cadets poke around inside the aircraft, and posed for a rare photo opportunity.
On the last day, the Junior Police Academy was joined by the Kiddie Police Academy, consisting of young kids from the township’s League of Extraordinary Children. The Senior Police Academy, hailing from the town’s senior housing program enjoyed the celebration and heard from local public safety personnel.
The Junior Police Academy’s graduation ceremony was held on Aug. 31, in the Anna L. Klein School.
There were several law enforcement and first responder agencies involved in this year’s police academy, including the U.S. Park Police from Ellis Island, Bergen County Police Academy, Bergen County Jail, NJ State Police, Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, North Bergen EMS, and the Guttenberg Police Department. Rose’s Deli provided lunches.
The event was planned and coordinated by Detective Steve Diaz. This year’s instructors included Sergeant Rafael Martinez, Detective Marcin Rysiec, Anthony Molina, Crissy Molina, Brian Acosta, Marisol Martinez, and Officers Aleksandar Ramadanovic, Erick Regojo, and Brian Eckenrode.