Cop Graduates Academy, But Will Lose Job Next Month
Lawrence Township Police Officer Ryan Dunn was class speaker, received two academy commendations and will be laid off in August.
Ten men and women who graduated Friday morning from the Mercer County Police Academy during a ceremony held inside the Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College’s campus in West Windsor Township.
Lawrence Township’s newest police officer, Ryan Dunn, was chosen by his fellow graduates to serve as class speaker.
Dunn, who previously worked as a civilian police dispatcher in Lawrence, was hired as a police recruit in March when the academy started.
“We entered the academy as strangers,” Dunn said during this morning's ceremony. “Five months later the 10 of us have become family – brothers and sisters in the law enforcement community.”
It was likely a bittersweet moment for Dunn, who is one of three Lawrence Township patrol officers who will be lose their jobs at the end of August as part of the layoffs Lawrence Township Council approved in May to help balance this year’s municipal budget.
Standing before an audience of over 100 family members, friends and fellow law enforcement personnel, members of Mercer County Police Academy’s Seventh Basic Class proudly wore the uniforms of their respective agencies and accepted the graduation certificates that culminated 22 weeks of intense training.
Addressing 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, who also serves as president of the Mercer County Chiefs of Police Association; and Guy Generals, vice president of Mercer County Community College.
The keynote speaker was Samuel J. Plumeri Jr., former Mercer County sheriff and current vice chairman of the N.J. State Parole Board.
“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 a variety of police disciplines, such as use of force, firearms, vehicle pursuit, hostage negotiation, advanced crime scene processing and domestic violence prevention.
Plumeri reminded the graduates that “every event, every response, will bring a lesson.”
He added, “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.”
Several cadets also received awards for excellence in training.
New Burlington Township Police Officer 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.
Dunn earned the overall academic achievement award, and also tied with Nicholas Filipponi (Mercer County Sheriff’s Office) for the physical training award.
Mullen earned the emergency vehicle operations award and William Trammell (North Brunswick Police Department) earned the firearms training award.
Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes offered his congratulations to the graduates, saying: “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, which was created in 2006, consists of two classrooms on the MCCC campus specially designed for the needs of law enforcement training. A shooting range in Hopewell Township operated by the prosecutor’s office is part of the academy as well. The next class will begin in October 2012.
The following is a list of the graduates, their hometowns, and the law enforcement agency each now joins:
- 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