For 11 weeks, Monmouth and Middlesex County corrections officer recruits were tested physically and mentally. On Thursday, April 26, the 23 candidates were recognized by public officials, law enforcement professionals, and family and friends during the Monmouth County Police Academy’s corrections officer course graduation in Freehold Township.
“You are embarking on a journey. My hope for you is that you will know the pride and satisfaction of a job well done,” Warden Brian Elwood told the new officers.
The officials who addressed the audience acknowledged the challenges of a career in corrections.
“You have an exceptionally tough job. Your job, especially corrections, has become tougher than ever,” Freehold Director John Curley said. “I’m very proud of your efforts. Today is the beginning of your professional lives.”
Middlesex County Adult Department of Corrections Warden Edmond Cicchi urged the officers to take comfort in their family and friends, who will see them through difficult days.
Gary M. Lanigan, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, noted that the officers will represent the face of the law enforcement community to prisoners.
“The example you set is what the offender will observe each and every day,” Lanigan said.
Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden told the new officers, including 12 from the Middlesex County Department of Corrections and 11 from the Monmouth County Department of Corrections, to keep the words courage, commitment and compassion in the forefront of their minds.
“We’ve provided the skills, but there is still a lot to learn,” Golden said. “Carry those words with you.”
Several members of the graduating class were recognized for outstanding achievements during the course: Robert J. Dickens received the academic award; Aleksandrs Urgans received the marksmanship award; Kris Pazinski received the merit award; and Michael V. DeMaio received the physical fitness award.
The designated class speaker, Officer Edward C. Goodell, lent some humor to the ceremony, recounting how the Middlesex recruits decided to attend the first day of class in suits and bring their uniforms in duffle bags.
“We learned within the first 10 seconds how wrong we were,” Goodell said. “Of course I forgot my duffle bag and members of my class have the image of me flopping around in my suit that first day.”
Ultimately, Goodell said, the 23 individuals who arrived at the Monmouth County Police Academy that first day became one: the academy’s 26th graduating class of the corrections officer course.