TOMS RIVER – Graduation ceremonies were held today (Aug. 13) for 21 new police officers who recently completed months of intensive training at the Ocean County Police Academy.
"This graduation marks a new beginning as you make your way into our communities as law enforcement officers," said Ocean County Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little, in addressing the 105th Basic Police Recruit Class at a graduation ceremony at Ocean County College. "As an officer you will be called upon to assume many roles in the community, from a mentor to a counselor to a leader.
"I want you to know the Ocean County Board of Freeholders has the ultimate respect for what you do every day," Little said, addressing all the law enforcement officers attending the graduation. "We appreciate your hard work and your dedication. We know you will continue to make our County a safe place for our residents."
Little was joined on the stage with Freeholder Virginia E. Haines, Ocean County Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Chief Richard A. Buzby Jr., who gave the keynote address, along with a host of police chiefs from across the County and other representatives of law enforcement.
"We are very proud of the many recruits that have graduated from the Ocean County Police Academy," said Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety.
Sheriff Mastronardy noted the new officers are provided with the tools they need at the academy.
"Our instructors are dedicated to making certain these new officers are well trained and prepared to serve the community," he said.
Award winners at the graduation were: Joseph M. Hans, Lakewood Police Department, the James J. Tracey Leadership Award; Robert A. Gravina, Jackson Township Police Department, Police Training Commission Merit Award; Richard P. Zieser, Berkeley Township Police Department, High Academic Award; Robert A. Gravina, Jackson Township Police Department, High Overall Award and High Physical Fitness Award; Michael J. La Montagne, Little Egg Harbor Police Department, High Marksmanship Award and Distinguished Expert Perfect Score. Also recognized for attaining a perfect score in one or more of the three qualifying firearms round were Christine M. Geskey, Michael J. La Montagne, Nicholas J. Romeo, and Michael S. Sasso.
The graduates of the 105th Basic Police Recruit Class and their respective police departments are Michael J. Batullo, Jr., Beachwood Police Department; Jacob R. Camaraza, Ryan J. Drivanos, Joshua C. Foca, Johnny Medina, Robert A. Murawski, Jr., Michael S. Sasso, Richard P. Zieser, II, all of the Berkeley Township Police Department; Christopher R. Garretson, Michael R. Grant, Joseph M. Hans, James Mahecha, Nicholas J. Romeo, Daniel J. Spagnuolo, Gary R. Weaver, III, all Lakewood Police Department; Christine M. Geskey, Toms River Township Police Department; Frank J. Giambona and John P. Stephenson, both of the Brick Township Police Department; Robert A. Gravina, Jackson Township Police Department; Michael J. La Montagne, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department, and Herline Valcin, Asbury Park Police Department.