Perhaps they were inspired by someone they know, maybe it's a dream of theirs to become a police officer or even a way to find out what law enforcement is all about and finding out that if what they see on TV and in the movies is real or not...whatever it is, over 100-students entered and then graduated Monmouth County's Sheriff Youth Week and now have a better understanding.

The program, which ran from July 9-13, began with a talk led by Sheriff Shaun Golden to the recruits about energy, enthusiasm and education.

High school aged students were equipped with a unique opportunity to explore interests in law enforcement through police academy-style training, exercise activities and instructional sessions.

Each day began with drill and ended with exercise.

During the week, the students learned about various law enforcement topics and agencies and they got an overview of the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office Law Enforcement, Communications and Corrections Divisions.

There were also Interactive sessions which included mock drills from the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), and the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team, MOCERT.

One of the major focal points of the week was when recruits spent the day at the Situational Training And Response Simulator, STARS facility.

Recruits, separated into groups, learned about the VirTra Simulator, a decision making and tactical firearms virtual threat simulator, which is equipped with five large screens and shows real life types of scenarios.

In addition, K-9, Project Lifesaver, drone, dive team and motor vehicle stop demonstrations were conducted along with a display of special operations and equipment.

Presentations were also given to the class on gang and drug awareness, internet safety, bicycle patrol with an interactive police bicycle course, media relations and the police, women in law enforcement and an entire regimen of health and fitness including a 5-K run.

At weeks end106 participants completed the 26th annual Sheriff Youth Week Program and received a certificate.

"I’m so proud of the entire Sheriff Youth Week class for staying the course and commend them for completing this intensive week of law enforcement training," Sheriff Golden said. "The program provides the graduates with an opportunity to explore the realm of possibilities of a career in public safety. As a result, many will become our future leaders in law enforcement."

During the graduation, Sheriff Golden specially recognized Hon. Deputy Sheriff William Wingard of New Jersey Gravel & Sand in Wall Township.

Mr. Wingard and the late Mrs. Wingard have been the sponsors of Sheriff Youth Week since 1992 and were acknowledged at the graduation ceremony for their dedication and commitment throughout the years.

Francesca Dee, a Sheriff Youth Week Graduate and volunteer, and Kayla Fenton, the first graduate to attend four years of Sheriff Youth Week and become a Class 1 Special Law Enforcement were also recognized and presented with certificates.

Here is what some of the students had to say about Sheriff's Youth Week:

“Sheriff Youth Week has been a great experience. I’ve learned about all the different aspects of law enforcement and being here has made me want to pursue a career as a police officer,” Cara DiStephano of Neptune Township said.

“The program has been very interesting and challenging. It’s has made me respect police officers and all the work they put in to protecting the public,” Michael Delaura of Wall Township said.

“My dad is a police officer and I really wanted to do this program to learn more about what he does. It was a great experience. The instructors were very professional, taught me a lot and I thank everyone for their support all week,” Shaun Patrick Sullivan of Middletown said.

“Sheriff Youth Week has taught me a lot. It helped me focus on how to lead, have courage and be up for a challenge. I also made a lot of friends and thank everyone who helped me out,” Emily Regan of Howell Township said.

Here are the names and home towns of all the graduates:

  • Katheryn Grace Aljian-Colts Neck
  • Christian Archinaco-Freehold
  • Lukas Arteni-Morganville
  • Michael Barletta-Allentown
  • Leoni Beshay-Howell
  • Ohene Biney-Howell
  • Tyler Bondarew-Farmingdale
  • Carlos B. Bonilla-Chacon-Freehold
  • Mario Boscaino-Farmingdale
  • Graciano Bowman-Farmingdale
  • Augusto Cabrera-Middletown
  • Michael Candelora-Manalapan
  • Gabriella Cardell-Jackson
  • Kameron Cash-Asbury Park
  • Tyler Chan-Morganville
  • Daniel Cholak-Ocean
  • Denis Ciobotar-Manalapan
  • Cristina Cuautle-Freehold
  • Anthony Cusmano-Farmingdale
  • Andre Dechert-Parlin
  • Michael Delaura-Wall
  • Amanda Dembowski-Howell
  • Daniel DeWaters-Port Monmouth
  • Cara DiStefano-Neptune
  • Tyler Dobrzynski-Tinton Falls
  • Joel T. Domas-Spring Lake Hgts.
  • Ryan Edwards-Freehold
  • Kenneth Emerick-Howell
  • John Farfan-Freehold
  • Alexis Forbes-Neptune
  • Christopher Fountaine-Manalapan
  • Richard Garrell-Morganville
  • Polo Gonzales Aguilar-Freehold
  • James Grande-Manalapan
  • Amelie Guinee-Freehold
  • Samantha Hayes-Howell
  • Michael Hosbach-Freehold
  • Victoria Hulse-Colts Neck
  • Richler Innocent-Belmar
  • Alexander Jenkins-Howell
  • Ava Jensen-Long Branch
  • James Kearns-Middletown
  • Shaun Keefe Jr.-Belmar
  • Vito Koempel Jr.-Matawan
  • Jason M. Krehl-Parlin
  • Hunter Kulchinsky-Freehold
  • Hayleigh Kurzenberger-Jackson
  • Jaxell Larios-Neptune
  • Emalie Lasko-Aberdeen
  • Nicholas LaValle-Tinton Falls
  • Kristin LaValle-Tinton Falls
  • Elijah Matthew-Leveille-Neptune
  • Jenna Lewandowski-Ocean
  • Kacey Lindsay-Somerset
  • Declan MacKay-Middletown
  • Nargiza Malikova-Englishtown
  • Martha Mannik-Howell
  • Waylon Manoes-Keansburg
  • Christian M. Marcus-Manalapan
  • Chase Matthews-Howell
  • Joseph McClue Jr.-Middletown
  • Isabella Medina-Jackson
  • Bryan Minarcik-Marlboro
  • Jade Miranda-Freehold
  • Michael Mirro-Middletown
  • Nick Mitaritonna-Freehold
  • Nicholas Monti-Howell
  • Jack Munning-Hazlet
  • Jake Oleszkiewicz-Lake Como
  • Junior Ortega-Lopez-Howell
  • Maria Ortega-Lopez-Howell
  • Christina Stevie-Orthodoxou-Millstone Twp.
  • Daniel Ortiz Jr.-Manalapan
  • Carl Parcesepe Jr.-Wall
  • Alexander Pasquale-Matawan
  • Jordan Pellot-Long Branch
  • Jose Peralta-Neptune
  • Danielle Perpignan-Neptune
  • Darin Perpignan-Neptune
  • Michael C. Perrette-Morganville
  • Michael Philbin-Freehold
  • Daniela Poma Sanchez-Englishtown
  • Maximus Rafla-Holmdel
  • Briana Ramirez-Manalapan
  • Emily Regan-Howell
  • Jade Rojas-Tepepa-Long Branch
  • Karime Rojas-Tepepa-Long Branch
  • Elle Rollins-Morganville
  • Ryan Rzigalinski-Keyport
  • Nicholas Salicco-Jackson
  • Kelly Schmidt-Belmar
  • Noelle Schwalje-Wall
  • Aliyah Sonnier-Neptune
  • Jake Staeger-Keyport
  • Aiden Sullivan-Union Beach
  • Sean Sullivan-Union Beach
  • Shaun Patrick Sullivan-Middletown
  • Patrick Tanajauskas-Cliffwood Beach
  • Valerie Vacchiano-Allenwood
  • Karina Vang-Freehold
  • Hailey Varca-Howell
  • Anthony Walton-Howell
  • Michael Walton-Howell
  • Kyle Winters-Howell
  • Bryce Wyzykowski-Fair Haven
  • Damian Zabe Monmouth Beach

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