Over the course of the 2016/2017 school year more than 2,500 fifth and sixth grade students in Ocean County have received training in the Prosecutors Office Gang Resistance Education And Training program.

Ocean County Prosecutors Office G.R.E.A.T. Instructors from left to right are: Assistant principal Dr. Scott Horowitz (Lakewood Middle School), Ptl. Steve Nickens (Lakewood PD) , Det. Tom Scalzullo (OCPO), Det. I Taryn Scwartz (OCPO) and Principal Richard Goldstein (Lakewood Middle School). (Ocean County Prosecutors Office)

The most recent class of students were trained Tuesday this week with the certification of 500 Lakewood Middle School children.

The program was born in 2011 to Ocean County schools where the OCPO works with various law enforcement agencies to help kids develop necessary like skills such as decision-making, communication, anger management, anti-bullying and respect.

More than 1,400 in Ocean County have finished the school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curriculum.

The G.R.E.A.T. program is designed to help students become more aware of the life ahead of them with training intended to serve as an immunization against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership for students before they reach their peak teenage years and older which become the prime ages for introduction into gangs and delinquent behavior.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office have trained more than 2,500 fifth and sixth grade students in the area in the G.R.E.A.T. program alongside with the Ocean County Sheriff's Department, Toms River Police Department, South Toms River Police Department and Lakewood Police Department.

Fifth and sixth grade students at Cedar Grove Elementary, Walnut Street Elementary, East Dover Elementary, Washington Street Elementary, West Dover Elementary, Hooper Avenue Elementary, Citta Elementary, North Dover Elementary, Silver Bay Elementary, South Toms River Elementary, Lakewood Middle School, Toms River Intermediate East and Toms River Intermediate North all received training.

Prosecutor Coronato commends all the dedicated G.R.E.A.T. Instructors: Toms River PD Ptl. Pam Slaven and Ptl. Ron Bayer, Lakewood PD Ptl.Steve Nickens, South Toms River Ptl. Michael Schneidt and Ptl. Anthony Giacinti, Ocean Country Sheriff’s Officer Joseph Kirby and SO Bill Zylkowski, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Det.I Taryn Scwartz, Det. Thomas Scalzullo and Sgt. Renee Nauyoks.

To learn more about the G.R.E.A.T. program visit www.great-online.org.

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