FREEHOLD, NJ - Sheriff Shaun Golden began the week by talking to the 119 Sheriff Youth Week recruits about the meaning of a TEAM, Together Everyone’s Actions Matter. He ended the week on graduation day, by proudly handing the recruits their certificates for completing the 25th Annual Sheriff Youth Week Program. The highly recognized program ran from July 10 through July 14 and is anything but an ordinary week of summer camp. It equips high school aged students with a unique opportunity to explore interests in law enforcement through police academy style training, exercise activities and instructional sessions.

"I’m proud of the entire Sheriff Youth Week class for staying the course and commend them for completing this intensive week of law enforcement training," said Sheriff Golden. "The program provides the graduates with an opportunity to explore the realm of possibilities of a career in public safety. As a result, many will become our future leaders in law enforcement."

Each day began with drill and ended with exercise. During the week, the class learned about various law enforcement topics and agencies. An overview of the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office Law Enforcement Division, the 9-1-1 Communications Division and a tour Monmouth County Correctional Division were provided.

Interactive sessions included mock drills from the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), and the Monmouth County Emergency Response Team, MOCERT.  A major focal point of the week was when recruits spent the day at the Situational Training And Response Simulator, STARS facility. A highlight at STARS was the VirTra Simulator, a decision making and tactical firearms virtual threat simulator which is equipped with five large screens and shows real life types of scenarios. In addition, K-9, Project Lifesaver, drone, dive team and motor vehicle stop demonstrations were conducted along with a display of special operations and equipment. Also included throughout the week were presentations on gang and drug awareness, internet safety, the importance of a background check, basic first aid and an entire regimen of health and fitness.

“I really like Sheriff Youth Week. It’s been a great experience to learn about the different aspects  of law enforcement careers and provided me with an understanding of what it’s like to work in the profession,” said Matthew Mentonis, Marlboro.

“This is my fourth year and it gets better and better, there is so much to do and new things to learn. I’m proud to have such a great opportunity,” said Gabrielle Freeman, Spring Lake.

“This program was interesting for me since I want a career in law enforcement. It was helpful since I learned about leadership skills and discipline,” said Xavier Hamilton, Neptune.

Sgt. Maggie Freeman, Manalapan Police Department, Rev. John Morley who is celebrating his 11 year anniversary as chaplain at the sheriff’s office, Francesca Dee, a Sheriff Youth Week

Graduate and volunteer/intern and Principal Richard Allen, Poseidon Early College High School, a valuable partner in creating programs with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office were all recognized and presented with certificates.

“I’m proud of our students from Neptune Township who are able to participate in such a valuable program which provides them with a great opportunity,” said Richard Allen, Principal Poseidon Early College High School. “I commend the class for their hard work and perseverance and look forward to continuing such great partnerships with the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.”

A special recognition by members of the Board of Chosen Freeholders was also presented to Mr. and the late Mrs. William W. Wingard, of New Jersey Gravel & Sand in Wall Township. They have been the sponsors of Sheriff Youth Week since 1992 and were acknowledged at the graduation ceremony for their dedication and commitment throughout the years.