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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Aug 02, 2017

25th Annual Sheriff Youth Week

By Lori Draz

One of the brightest weeks of the year took place July 10-14. The Annual Sheriff Youth Week, now in its 25th year, brought together 119 enthusiastic teenage students from around Monmouth County for an intense week of training in all aspects of criminal justice. This year’s students got an enhanced experience, as they took their training at the newly opened Situational Training and Response Simulator (STARS) facility on Dutch Lane in Freehold. The state-of-the-art facility includes the VirTra Simulator, a decision-making and tactical firearms virtual threat simulator that is equipped with five large screens and shows real life types of scenarios, along with staging areas that duplicate domestic violence, jail, and terrorist threat scenarios. The facility also stages K-9 demonstrations, mock trials, drills, and various other exercises.

Through police academy-style training and instructional sessions by municipal, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, students learned about all the ways the sheriff’s office and police protect the community, including the Dive and Rescue team, drone patrol, and SWAT intervention. There were motor vehicle stop demonstrations, displays of special operations and equipment, presentations on gang and drug awareness, internet safety, and the importance of background checks. The daily sessions ran from 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Despite the high heat and humidity, the bright-eyed students kept a breakneck pace, participating in all the classroom and simulated activities, plus drills, physical fitness challenges, and graduation exercises.

Sheriff Shaun Golden was delighted to have such a large and eager enrollment. “These students get a real insight into all the aspects of criminal justice, from police and law enforcement, to search and rescue, administrative, and corrections. Many of our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in these various fields. I’m particularly happy that they were able to see and use our new STARS facility, which offers a level of training that is second to none.” There is no fee for participation.

Area student attending included Suzette Rodriguez, Red Bank; Katheryn Aljian, Colts Neck; Joseph LaPorta, Colts Neck; Adam Fioretti, Little Silver; Zane Claudio, Middletown; Charito Cintron, Middletown; James Kearns, Middletown; Brianna Kelly, Middletown; Kayla Fenton, Middletown; Christopher Sherwin, Middletown; Thomas J. (T.J.) Mirro, Middletown; Joseph Prancl, Red Bank; Britaney Gonzalez, Red Bank; Jenifer Velasquez, Red Bank, and Gianna Casale, Rumson.