By: Yuritza Arroyo
This past Wednesday, March 8, the Township of North Bergen recognized the graduates of the North Bergen Police Department’s (NBPD) inaugural Citizen Police Academy (CPA) at its most recent Commission meeting.
According to officials, eight township residents successfully completed the class and received their certificates of achievement from Mayor Nicholas Sacco, Public Safety Commissioner Allen Pascual, and Police Chief Peter Fasilis.
“This graduating class of empowered citizens will help make our neighborhoods safe by working in partnership with our law enforcement and helping to build more cohesive communities,” said Mayor Sacco.
“Thank you to all that participated, and I look forward to seeing more residents like yourselves take on this worthy challenge.”
The CPA is open to North Bergen residents only and is loosely based on a police academy recruit training program, allowing community members an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of skills and abilities that police officers bring to their work within the community.
Graduates underwent a 10-week training program that provided them with a background and deeper understanding of twenty-first-century policing, and many expressed an interest in joining the NBPD in the future.
“The objective of the CPA is not to train an individual to be a police officer, but to produce knowledgeable citizens and promote community involvement, which is one of the most important resources any police department can hope to have,” said Chief Fasilis.
“I want to thank Mayor Sacco and Commissioner Pascual for their continued support of our community outreach programs, which are vital to building trust and improving transparency within our community.”
Workshops were led by police academy instructors and included discussions with representatives of specialized units, as well as role-playing and tactical exercises.
Training exercises also included:
Training & response to opioids/narcotic (each student received a Narcan kit upon completion)
First aid & CPR
Appropriate use of force
Traffic law enforcement (including a ride-a-long)
Police response to mental illness & special needs (including de-escalation tactics)
Introduction to firearms (participants trained with a state-of-the-art firearm training simulation system)
Law enforcement technology
Police defensive tactics (students participated in hands-on defensive tactics)
Laws of arrest
Crime scene procedures (training included lifting fingerprints from the mock crime scene)
“Congratulations to all of the graduates for undertaking this challenge and demonstrating their remarkable commitment to learning more about law enforcement and its role within the community,” said Commissioner Pascual
“I am very proud to see individuals who understand the importance of collaboration between law enforcement and civilians and who are now better equipped to help build trust and mutual understanding in their neighborhoods.”