BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The Bloomfield Police Department had a graduation exercise at noon on Friday, Aug. 3, for its fourth annual Junior Police Academy. The ceremony was in the Bloomfield High School auditorium. Seventy-two girls and boys, grades six to eight, received certificates of completion for the two-week long camp. In the absence of Public Safety Director Sam DiMaio, the recruits and their families were addressed by Capt. Gary Peters, the patrol commander. He said the most important lesson the recruits learned was the importance of teamwork.
“Our goal was to create a better understanding between the Bloomfield Police Department and the township youth,” he said.
The academy was under the direction of Lt. Naomi Zepeda, the Special Operations Division commander.
“These two weeks were not easy,” she said. “You’ve grown a great deal,”
The 72 students represented the largest Junior Police Academy ever and many of the children were attending for the second or third time.
“This year we had a select few come back as junior recruits,” Zepeda said.
These student, she said, helped out with instructions. They were Julia Ruiz; Alexander Camacho; Nicholas Vieceli; Christopher Kelly; and Charles Tynan.
Zepeda thanked the instructors.
“Some had to rearrange their entire lives to make the academy successful,” she said.
Also thanked were Officer Jessy Aponte; Brianna DiMaio, who works in Bloomfield Public Safety and no relation to the director; and the parents of the children.
“You should all be proud of yourselves,” Zepeda said. “We hope to see some of these young faces next year.”
Two awards were given at the ceremony. The recruit showing the most perseverance was Evan Howard. The two most motivated recruits were Jessica Acosta and Nina Deleon. A light lunch was provided by Brookdale ShopRite.