Junior Police Academy Cadets Cap Week With Graduation Ceremony

Junior Police Academy cadets at their July 20 graduation ceremony at Franklin High School.

More than two dozen township students graduated from the township police department’s Junior Police Academy during a July 20 ceremony held at Franklin High School.

The 25 cadets spent the previous week drilling, marching and learning various aspects of law enforcement, from the local level through the national level.

The program included a trip to the Somerset County forensics lab and a demonstration of tactics by the county SWAT team.

This is the eighth year that the academy has been offered, and every year the department receives more applications than available spots, said FTPD Det. Kevin Fitzharris, the academy’s co-coordinator.

“This was a great class, all these kids followed instructions very well, and I think they are taking a lot from this week,” he said. “I believe this is something they’re going to carry on throughout their lives as well, from self-discipline, and also having the courage to do certain things they had to do.”

FTPD Capt. Greg Borlan, speaking for Chief Richard Grammar, told the parents and family members attending teh ceremony that the academy is “very special” to the department.

“We really believe in investing in our youth and working within our community,” he said. “We’ve been doing it or a lot of years and it’s a priority for this agency.”

Borlan said the cadets grew during their week of training.

“They are not the kids you dropped off here on Monday, they have learned some hard-won lessons,” he said. “They’ve learned lessons in respect, they’ve learned lessons in humility and most important, they’ve learned lessons in what and where you can get through hard work and determination.”

“I realize that your children are your most precious commodity and for you to bring them here, invest in them and trust them to us, is huge,” he said. “It is an investment, because you will see the changes in these young men and women when you bring them home. And there’s no doubt in my mind that this is a stepping stone to them doing great things when they become adults.”

Mayor Phil Kramer congratulated the cadets and their parents.

“The most important things I think you learned were discipline and teamwork,” he said. “Those two things, how to work with each other and how to be disciplined to a task, will last you throughout your entire life.”

“I’ve heard the officers talking that this is a very special class, so you all should be very proud of yourself,” Kramer said.

This was the second year that Tristan Zehr, a rising freshman at FHS, took the program.

“I thought it was fun last year and I thought maybe I could learn some more, mainly about self-discipline,” he said. “I really liked the drilling last year, I thought maybe I could learn more about it.”

“Also the classes in general from different branches of law enforcement were really interesting, from the FBI to the prosecutor’s Office,” he said.

Zehr said that a career in something commented to law enforcement “may be kind of interesting.”

For Xavier Henderson, who will be a 7th Grader this September, the program gave him something to do this summer.

“It was fun to learn new things,” he said.

The physical training “was challenging and tested your perseverance, but it was a good thing,” he said.

The application process for next year’s academy will begin in mid-May 2019, Fitzharris said. Announcements will be made through the FTPD’s social media and by school resource officers.

The 2018 graduates are:

  • Ntim Afriyie – Class Leader, Excellence Award
  • Ty-Ana Dormeus – 4th Squad Leader
  • Omar Fahmi – 1st Sqaud Leader
  • Justin Freeman
  • Davian Gaines – Most Improved
  • Jharley’s Grullon
  • Benjamin Guy
  • Samantha Hanlon – 2nd Squad Leader
  • Loida Henderson
  • Jada Jenkins – Most Improved
  • Pranjall Marfatia
  • Nasim McCleod – Most Improved
  • Deandra Merricks
  • Franz Minaya
  • Devin Phillips – 3rd Squad Leader
  • Sreya Rajeesh
  • Kevin Ramos
  • Javier Reategiu
  • Jada Riley
  • Joseph Rocher
  • Zara Salas
  • Kadin Shea
  • Cyprianni Stewart
  • Tristan Zehr
  • Matthew Zjawiony


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