Seven new Auxiliary police officers will be joining the New Brunswick Police Force in the coming weeks following the graduation of Auxiliary Police Class 46 from the Middlesex County Auxiliary Police Academy.
The class consisted of 30 auxiliary officers from New Brunswick, Woodbridge, Old Bridge, Edison, Perth Amboy and Middletown, all swearing to "Protect and Assist" in Wednesday's graduation ceremony at Middlesex County College.
New Brunswick's officers - Ervin Gomez, Nicole Lewis, Luis Berrios, Juan Martinez, Jose Gomez, Edwin Gomez, and Zair Hill - are the first auxiliary officers New Brunswick police department will have on hand since the 1990's, when the program was last used.
Police officials have previously said that the Auxiliary Police Unit was discontinued in New Brunswick after community interest for it died out.
In January, the police force announced the reinstatement of the after a tumultuous fall and winter for the police department that included a a rash of community violence and two police involved shootings, bringing increased scrutiny on the police department by residents and activists.
The unit has the backing of community groups such as the Civic League of Greater New Brunswick, .
Lt. J.T. Miller of New Brunswick Police previously told New Brunswick Patch that 36 applications for the unit were received by the police department and 11 were approved - nine men and two women. Seven ended up graduating from the academy on Wednesday.
Police Director Anthony Caputo, who was on hand at Wednesday's ceremony to hand the new officers their badges, said the commitment to the force was not light volunteer work.
Starting in March, the recruits trained for 13 weeks at the Middlesex County Police Academy on Tuesdays and Thursdays for four hours each, and on Saturdays for eight hours each, through May.
They are specifically trained to assist the police force with community-oriented events, such as crowd control at parades and large gatherings.
The new officers will continue their training with the New Brunswick Police to learn the operations of the department, and will have their first encounter with the community during the city's Independence Day ceremony in the beginning of July, Caputo said.
The auxiliary officers are expected to complete a minimum of 96 hours of volunteer work per year, Caputo said.
Anyone interested in joining the Auxiliary Police Unit is asked to visit thecityofnewbrunswick.org/police/2012/join-today, or contact Sgt. Scott
Gould at (732) 745-5190.