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.