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West Windsor, N.J. - Mercer County dignitaries and law enforcement officials from around the County gathered July 27 to celebrate the graduation of the 7th basic class of police officers from the Mercer Police Academy.

An audience of more than 100 family members, friends, and members of a number of law enforcement agencies witnessed the class of 10 cadets as each received graduation certificates to officially make them police officers.

The commencement was held inside Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College Friday and featured the cadets proudly wearing the uniforms of the respective law enforcement agency each will join.

The graduates endured 22 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 seventh police class of the Academy, which was created in Oct. 2006 and provides a facility and resources to train law enforcement recruits within Mercer County. The academy is located on the grounds of Mercer County Community College.

Other speakers who addressed the class were Academy Director Al Paglione; Mercer County First Assistant Prosecutor Angelo Onofri; Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler, Hopewell Township Police Chief George Meyer of the Chiefs of Police Association, Dr. Guy Generals, Vice President, Mercer County Community College. Keynote speaker was Samuel J. Plumeri Jr., vice chairman, NJ State Parole Board. Also in attendance was Freeholder Ann Cannon.

 “The class you see before you has persevered through five months of demanding physical and education training that have earned them the right to join the law enforcement community,” Paglione said. “The job they have embarked upon is never going to be easy, but it will be rewarding.”

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.

Plumeri, who formerly was Mercer County Sheriff, reminded the graduates that “every event, every response, will bring a lesson,’’ adding, “There is no manual to cover every situation or every contingency. It is your training that will lead you to make right decisions day after day.”

Ryan Dunn, a graduate who will join the Lawrence Township police force, was chosen by his fellow graduates as class speaker. “We entered the academy as strangers,” Dunn told his fellow graduates. “Five months later the 10 of us have become family – brothers and sisters in the law enforcement community.”

Several cadets also received awards for their excellence in training. Ruben Ortiz-Cruz was chosen by his classmates for the merit award from the N.J. Police Training Commission as the best all-around graduate. Ryan Dunn earned the overall academic achievement award; Nicholas Filipponi and Ryan Dunn tied for the physical training award; William Trammell earned the firearms training award; and Michael Mullen earned the emergency vehicle operations award.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes offered his congratulations to the graduates. “The Mercer County Police Academy has turned many men and women into magnificent officers in law enforcement agencies around the state, and I congratulate these graduates for their commitment during their rigorous training. I have no doubt they are prepared for the challenges they will face.”

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 next class will be in October, 2012.

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:

Frank Bremer of Burlington --  Burlington Township Police Department
Melody Correa of Burlington -- Burlington Township Police Department
Paul Dorio of Ewing – Mercer County Sherriff’s Office
Ryan Dunn of Lawrence – Lawrence Township Police Department
Nicholas Filipponi of Bordentown – Mercer County Sheriff’s Office
Ana Just of North Brunswick – Princeton University Public Safety
Nicholas Morgante of Hamilton – Mercer County Sheriff’s Office
Michael Mullen of Lawrence -- Mercer County Sheriff’s Office
Ruben Ortiz-Cruz of Burlington -- Burlington Township Police Department
William Trammell of North Brunswick– North Brunswick Police Department