Lyndhurst kids learn ins and outs of policing @ Junior Police Academy

LYNDHURST — While many youngsters were sleeping in and taking life easy in the midst of summer vacation, 39 seventh-graders from Lyndhurst’s public schools and Sacred Heart Catholic School spent the week of July 16 as cadets in the Lyndhurst Police Department’s annual Junior Police Academy.

The five-day program was designed to give cadets an “in-depth look at what it takes to be a law-enforcement officer while encouraging them to be partners in building a safer community,” according to Det. Vincent Auteri, the LPD’s new public information officer.

“The junior cadets were introduced to activities such as group-marching drills, fingerprinting and crime prevention,” Auteri said. “Cadets also received a tour of police headquarters and a close-up look as some of the police equipment such as patrol cars, special-use vehicles, SWAT equipment and other emergency apparatus.”

Cadets were also exposed to basic self-defense training and other police-related skills. They were challenged, each day, on a physical level, Auteri said, and performed push-ups, sit-ups, other calisthenics and an obstacle course.

But there was more than just physical aspects to policing for the junior cadets.

“A good portion of the week consisted of our instructors placing emphasis on the importance of self-discipline, building self-confidence and focusing on the development of values such as honor and integrity,” Auteri said. “We constantly stressed the importance of being a leader — and staying drug free.”

The cadets also took part in presentations made by the FBI, DEA, NJ State Police Aviation Unit, Lyndhurst Fire Department Underwater Search & Rescue Unit — and the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office’s Bomb Squad, K-9 Unit and Crime Scene Unit.

“We congratulate all of the graduates for taking the time out of their summer vacation and having the courage and fortitude to take on a challenge of this magnitude,” Auteri said. “There was no cost to participate and this year’s program was funded with the help of the Lyndhurst Municipal Alliance.”

Dets. Vincent Auteri and Mike Lemanowicz and Officers Paul Haggerty, Steven Passamano and Elizabeth Hollenbeck were all academy instructors.

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Kevin Canessa Jr. is a journalist and webmaster at The Observer. He is responsible for the editorial content on the newspaper's website, the production of the e-Edition, covering the Nutley Police Department and more behind the scenes. From 2006 to 2008, he served as the editor of The Observer, where he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video for the very first time. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Fla., for four years until February 2016 and in 2016, moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.