An amazing first for New Jersey was put into affect this past Wednesday.

Five individuals who are passionate about security and law enforcement got to do something that many thought would never be possible: they were sworn in to start their internship with the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office.

It is called the Growth Through Opportunity program and it has been created to allow people with various developmental issues and disabilities (which include autism, cerebral palsy, and down syndrome) to intern for the prosecutor's office or other municipal police departments.

There is one main goal of this program: to have their cadets learn the skills necessary to secure a stable job in the law enforcement field.

Their responsibilities will include but are not limited to managing phone lines, operating security booths, assisting security officers and so much more depending on each individual's specific interests and talents.

This program has been organized by The Arc of New Jersey through a generous grant to get Growth Through Opportunity to thrive. It was founded back in 2014 in the Roanaoke Police Department in Virginia.

Here are the individuals that are kicking off this amazing program:

  • Ivan Aguire, Red Bank Police Department
  • Nicholas Vales, Eatontown Police Department
  • Alexander Vasquez, Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office
  • Travis White, Holmdel Police Department
  • Matthew Zehl, Marlboro Police Department

I am so happy to hear about this program! No only is it promoting inclusion but how can you understand someone's point of view or special strengths if you don't brainstorm and/or work alongside them?

To all of the newly-sworn-in cadets, good luck with your internship for the next four months. I know you are going to absolutely kill it.

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