Forty-seven graduates of the John H. Stamler Police Academy, including 21 who have now joined the Jersey City Police Department, took their oaths of honor during the commencement ceremony for the Academy’s 121st class, held last week at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo announced Monday.
The ceremony took place the day after the funeral of veteran Jersey City Police Department Detective Joseph Seals, one of four people shot and killed during an ideologically motivated and bias-fueled shooting that took place in the city’s Greenville section a week earlier. Both shooters also died during the incident, the circumstances of which are now under investigation by the FBI’s Newark Field Office.
“I saw a Stamler recruit hat yesterday, as I walked out of Detective Seals’s funeral, and realized you were helping with security. You took part in one of the saddest days in recent memory on the eve of one of the happiest for you,” Prosecutor Ruotolo told the recruits during her remarks. “All of you know the very real dangers you face, and yet you step up to serve anyway.”
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal delivered the keynote address at the commencement ceremony.“Because you … take this oath today, our communities will continue to thrive. Our rights and liberties will remain guarded and secure. And because you step up, our democracy will endure,” Grewal said. “I want to thank each of you, all 47 of you, for your courage and commitment to stand up in this particular moment. I want to thank you for answering the call to service.”
Grewal was introduced by Special Assistant to the Attorney General Joseph F. Walsh, who was recognized by the Prosecutor’s Office with an award honoring his recent six-month term of service to the people of Union County.
Others making up the 121st graduating class included new members of the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the municipal police departments of Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Union, and Westfield, all in Union County, as well as the municipal police departments of East Newark (Hudson County), South Plainfield (Middlesex County), and Warren Township (Somerset County).
“I am personally honored to graduate with each and every one of these individuals, who I will forever consider brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” said Class Spokesperson Lance L. Pecina of the Union County Sheriff’s Office. “I know they are truly people of the highest caliber, for whom I harbor an immense respect, and I have no doubt that they will fulfill their duties as law enforcement officers with the utmost integrity and honor.”
The 21 new Jersey City Police Department officers were among a total of 34 introduced during a ceremony at City Hall the day after the commencement, bringing the total Department complement to 976, marking an increase of more than 200 to its ranks since 2013.
“Since we’ve expanded the number of police officers, we have been able to increase foot patrols where needed most, and strengthen the relationship between community members and officers,” Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea said. “While we have plenty more work to do, our efforts are already leading us in the right direction, resulting in historic decreases in overall crime citywide.”
A moment of silence was recognized in honor of Detective Seals during the ceremony in Jersey City.
The John H. Stamler Police Academy, located at 1776 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains, has been in continuous operation since 1946, during which time it has graduated thousands of recruits who then joined law enforcement agencies in Union and surrounding counties. Today overseen by Director Eric G. Mason, the Academy operates via a unique partnership established in 1986, through which members of the Union County Police Chiefs Association, Union County Prosecutor’s Office, and other partner agencies provide instructors, resources, and support.
Two former Union County prosecutors were instrumental in establishing that partnership: John H. Stamler and Andrew K. Ruotolo, Jr. The building at the current location was dedicated in 1991, and was named in honor of the former.
For more information about the John H. Stamler Police Academy, or to register to attend, click here.
To view photos from the commencement, click here.