A total of 43 new police officers have been added to the blue line in Ocean County this year with the last 21 coming in after they recently graduated the OC Police Academy.

Graduation ceremonies for the 105th Basic Police Recruit Class were held August 13 for the 21 new police officers who 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,"  Freeholder Director Gerry Little said at the 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.

Little then turned to the Ocean County Police community in a statement for them all.

"I want you to know the Ocean County Board of Freeholders has the ultimate respect for what you do every day," Little said. "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 by Freeholder Virginia Haines, Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Chief Richard Buzby Jr., who gave the keynote address, along with many of the other 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," Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety said.

Sheriff Mastronardy said these 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," Mastronardy said.

There were also some award winners at the graduation: 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.

Christine M. Geskey, Michael J. La Montagne, Nicholas J. Romeo, and Michael S. Sasso were also recognized for attaining a perfect score in one or more of the three qualifying firearms round

Here are all the graduates and their respective police departments they're now joining:

  • 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, 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, Lakewood Police Department.
  • Christine M. Geskey, Toms River Township Police Department.
  • Frank J. Giambona and John P. Stephenson, Brick Township Police Department.
  • Robert A. Gravina, Jackson Township Police Department.
  • Michael J. La Montagne, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department.
  • Herline Valcin, Asbury Park Police Department.

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