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WO Residents Graduate from the 153rd New Jersey State Police Recruit Training Class

Three West Orange residents join 115 of their peers as the newest members of the New Jersey State Police.

Photo Credit by Attorney General's Office of New Jersey
Photo Credit by Attorney General's Office of New Jersey
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 on Dec. 6, according to a release from the State Attorney General's office.

Laejon C. Brooks, Daniel L. McGovern and Luis A. Valle of West Orange all graduated with the 153rd State Police Class. There were 118 men and women from all over the state who graduated with the Class.

"The difference between mediocrity and excellence for any organization is not just equipment or facilities - it is about people. And that is where you, the graduates of the 153rd State Police class come in. As of today, the continued success of the State Police mission is in your hands. You are the organization's future, and your dedication and professionalism will determine its success," said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman in the release.

“The 153rd class represents a major step forward in our continuing effort to develop and maintain a State Police force that reflects the diverse population it serves. That is critical because the State Police is the most visible symbol of law enforcement throughout New Jersey, and every individual Trooper who puts on the uniform is recognized as a leader -- on the road, in his or her neighborhood and in the community at large,” said Governor Chris Christie of the new troopers.

For the full list of graduates, click here.

Seventy-four percent of the 153rd Class has a Bachelor’s Degree or higher; 42 percent played college sports; 16 percent have prior military service (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard); and several graduates have previous law enforcement or emergency management experience, according to the release, and is the most racially diverse class in history.

“The 118 men and women of the 153rd 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 in the release.

The release further stated that the 153rd 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.

In addition to honoring all graduates from the 153rd class, Colonel Fuentes presented the following awards at the event:

  • The winner of the “Academic Performance Award” is Trooper Thomas Tarsitano, of Brick, N.J. Throughout the academy training program; he achieved an overall academic average of 92.8 percent.
  • The winner of the “Firearms Proficiency Award” is Trooper Ramon Ortiz of Egg Harbor Township, N.J. During firearms training, he fired an average score of 179 out of a possible 180.
  • The winner of the “Physical Training Award” is Trooper Laejon Brooks of West Orange, N.J. During the physical agility testing, he achieved a perfect 100 percent score, a tribute to his physical conditioning.

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.

Two additional classes, the 154th is scheduled to start in March 2014 and the 155th is scheduled to start in May 2014. The 154th and 155th will graduate in fiscal year 2015, according to the release.






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