FREEHOLD, NJ - After 11 weeks of intensive training, recruits from the 26th Basic Course for County Corrections Officers officially took the oath of office at a graduation ceremony.   The event, which took place at the Monmouth County Police Academy in Freehold on April 26th included officials from Monmouth and Middlesex Counties, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, along with family members and friends of the 23 graduates.

“I commend the members of this class for their accomplishments,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden who addressed the graduates.  “A correctional institution is a city within a city and corrections officers are the police force within that city. Their duties are the same as police officers, only in a correctional environment, to safeguard lives and property and preserve the peace.”


“You will serve as role models, teachers and diplomats to those for whom you have sworn to care,” said Hon. Gary Lanigan, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections. “It will be you who are on the front lines. Your professionalism, your bearing and most importantly, the example you set, is what the offender will observe every day.” 

Throughout the past 11 weeks the recruits learned necessary skills to become a corrections officer through ethics, note taking, report writing, inmate rights, crises intervention, hostage survival, mob dynamics and cultural diversity. They also learned how to properly use firearms and batons and trained in unarmed self defense, handcuffing and suicide prevention. In addition, the recruits were trained on what to do in case of a riot, how to handle stress and a host of other topics related to corrections. 

“I’m proud to have accomplished such a challenge and look forward to dedicating myself to a profession in law enforcement,” said Corrections Officer Craig Phillips of Hazlet. The 26th Basic Course for County Corrections Officers coordinated by Warden Brian Elwood and Sgt. Byron Jones of the Monmouth County Correctional Institution consisted of eleven dedicated recruits from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division and twelve from the Middlesex County Department of Corrections. All of the graduates are now Police Training Commission certified corrections officers.    

“As you begin your new career, remember the valuable lessons that you learned here at the Monmouth County Police Academy,” Freeholder Lillian Burry told the graduates.  “Remember the badge that you so proudly wear, is a symbol of public faith and trust, a faith and trust that must be earned each day by your actions and deeds.”

“Today marks the beginning of your professional lives,” said Freeholder Director John Curly. “Through hard work and commitment you will continue to learn each and every day and follow the instruction of those in uniform who came before you.”

Graduates of the 26th Basic Course for County Corrections Officers from the Monmouth County Department of Corrections included: Daniel Ceparano, Michael DeMaio, Robert Dickens, AJ Hill, Timothy Hurd, Patrick Leonard, Craig Phillips, Jason Schaller, Mark Towle, Aleksandrs Urjans & Tate Wisher.Graduates from Middlesex County Department of Corrections included: Patrick Bonkowski, Charles Breese, Christopher Byelick, Ricardo Ferreira, Jill Foster, Edward Goodell, Daniel Marcinko, Eugene Marra, Zachary Olesinski, Kris Pazinski, Anthony Sterlacci & Francis Villig.