Monmouth Teens Graduating Sheriff Youth Program
The free program offered to Monmouth County teenagers has grown exponentially since its inception in 1992.
The Monmouth County Police Academy’s Sheriff Youth Week program, in its 20th year, will graduate the largest class in its history Friday morning.
The 112 recruits have spent this week with Monmouth County police volunteers, who are offering their time to teach high school students about law enforcement through lessons, drills, exercise and training akin to what would be expected at a police academy.
This is the first year that the program has used another facility besides the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and on Wednesday recruits were at Neptune High School to utilize the resources the school had to offer including a ropes course, a rock wall, a pool where students learned water safety and a track where students were challenged to a 5K.
“We’re excited here in Neptune because we formed a partnership with Superintendent Dave Mooij from Neptune Township Schools and they’ve been a tremendous partner for the last couple years in assisting us in recruiting some individuals to come up to the police academy,” Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said.
The recruits arrive every morning at 7:45 a.m. for drill, engage in physical training every afternoon, and are taught about law enforcement in the interim. Some of the instruction they receive is about emergency management, crime scene investigation, gang awareness, firearms safety, information about corrections and parole, and an overview of various law enforcement careers and agencies such as NCIS, US Marshals, CERT, and the National Park Service.
Golden said that alums of Sheriff Youth Week have gone on to become firefighters, dispatchers, EMT officers or police officers and have gone through the Monmouth County Police Academy, something which he is very proud of. Also, many of the current recruits have already participated in the program once or twice before.
Thomas Fatigante, 17, of Brick Township, is going through the program for the third year in a row. Fatigante has been inspired by his father, a former Monmouth County police officer, to become a cop. The fact that the program preps you for a police academy by giving the recruits a taste of academy training is something Fatigante said he appreciates, as well as the structure of the program and the responsibility it teaches the students.
Rick, Mary, Nicholas, and Philip Kenny, 13-year-old quadruplets from Manalapan Township, are all participating in the program this year. Rick is the most curious about law enforcement, while his siblings decided to try out the program to see what is really involved.
“It’s a good place to get in shape for the new school year and learn discipline,” Nicholas said, a sentiment which his siblings echoed. They said that the classes were informative and compelling and that the whole experience has been an informative one.
Sheriff Youth Week formal graduation will be held at the Monmouth County Police Academy, located at 2000 Kozloski Road in Freehold, on Friday, at 9:30 a.m.