Ocean County adds 22 new police officers to the blue line
There is a world of danger out there and in the last couple of years alone, we've had terror hit home at the Semper Five Marine Corps Charity 5K in 2016 where a trash can bomb exploded in Seaside Heights.
In times of danger and at those times when we're afraid, it's Police Officers who respond first and give that first layer of protection against evil.
The blue line in Ocean County just got stronger with more reinforcements.
There are 22 new police officers joining various departments across Ocean County this week following a graduation at Ocean County College last Friday.
Former Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Rory Wells gave the keynote speech during the ceremony.
Among those joining Wells on stage were Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy and Freeholder Director Gerry Little who was the special guest speaker.
"They're young people who have decided to pursue a career that is not only very fulfilling personally but is also very important to our communities in terms of keeping us safe and maintaining the great quality of life we have here in Ocean County," Little said.
Graduates of the 104th class will now get town specific training says Little that follows extensive academy instruction including a five-month boot camp.
"Everything from self-defense to traffic laws, firearms training, legal standards...all of those things are in this comprehensive program," Little said.
Mastronardy says officers need to be prepared in today's world with all of its challenges, especially with new technology being developed and laws being added.
"Not only so that they can handle their job but also that they can be safe and go home to their families at the end of the day," Mastronardy said.
Mastronardy who's spent over 40-years in law enforcement including a stint as police chief in Toms River, says there's also always new technology being developed to help keep officers safe.
"There's various technology items being developed," Mastronardy said. "When I first started we didn't have body armor protection, so there's a lot of things that one can do and we're going to make sure that everybody has the tools that they need to carry out their job."
Little advises the officers to seek out members of their force to learn even more how to handle tough situations.
"In certain circumstances you're going to face folks who object to police and you have to learn how to balance being firm and yet being fair to everyone," Little said.
Little says these men and women in blue always have the full backing of he and the rest of the Freeholder Board.
"They are the backbone of our communities in terms of providing public safety and our quality of life," Little said. "We will never turn our back on these new recruits or any of our law enforcement here in Ocean County."
Mastronardy says there's great public support for law enforcement in Ocean County.
"We're very blessed with citizens in Ocean County who support public safety and the values of public safety," Mastronardy said. "I say for the most part we're very blessed with police officers and chiefs throughout the county who do the right thing everyday of the week."
Little encourages any young man or woman pondering a future in law enforcement or the military to see it through.
Lawmakers including Shore Congressman Tom MacArthur (NJ-3rd District) have been making strides to continue protecting the men and women who protect all of us.
In a July 2016 conference call with Jersey law enforcement agencies that included Sheriff Mastronardy, MacArthur had been working on a bill to help law enforcement officers.
"Our men and women in blue deserve to have their lives protected and I'm grateful for what they do," MacArthur said. "I have co-sponsored a bill called the 'Thin Blue Line Act' and we are trying to move this quickly in congress."
"It makes it a more serious crime to target, kill, or attempt to kill a police officer or first responder," MacArthur said. "It makes no difference between killing an officer in the course of their duties or targeting them just because they're a police officer. It makes it as if your killing a federal officer, it's the same kind of penalty."
MacArthur adds this bill is a necessity to prevent criminals from "committing terrible acts of violence against our police officers."
Here are some pictures from the Ocean County Police Academy graduation ceremony. A full gallery is available here.
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