Last Thursday, February 11, 2021, the Trenton Police Department (TPD) welcomed 15 new officers to the force. As per TPD policy, these recruits started their careers on patrol moments after being sworn in.

The small ceremony took place at noon at the Galilee Baptist Church located at 440 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. After being sworn in, a loved one pinned each officer with their new police badge to officiate the start of their careers with TPD.

Out of 21 officers who made it through the interview process, only 15 recruits made it to be sworn into the TPD. “That is not to be taken lightly,” said TPD Police Director Sheilah A. Coley as she congratulated the recruits. “When you work in law enforcement, it is a true calling… If you are taking this as a job, this is never going to work out for you, because you won’t actually see the benefits of it. You won’t actually see the impact that you could potentially have on other people’s lives.”

She continued, “The rent we pay for occupying the Earth is service. If you’re thinking about this as a way to pay your rent – to serve your community, to serve your family, to serve your neighborhood – then you’re in the right place, you’re in the right church, and right now, you’re in the right seats.”

The officers sworn in last Thursday spent 21 weeks at the Mercer County Police Academy based out of Mercer County Community College (MCCC). Each trainee was taught by instructors that were certified by the Police Training Commission. Through the academy, the new officers completed the physical training and conditioning experience where they were trained in professional development; the criminal justice system; police community relations; criminal law; legal requirements of arrest, search, seizure, evidence and use of force; communications; vehicle operations; emergency medical care; weaponry and unarmed defensive tactics; patrol concepts; traffic and motor vehicle law; criminal investigation; and physical fitness. This estimates to approximately 2000 hours of basic and advanced in-service courses.

Although a grueling course load, Director Coley advised the new recruits that it is only the beginning. “The five and a half months that you’ve already been through, that’s both families and graduates, is nothing compared to what you’re going to go through the first day that you actually take the streets,” she said.

With the continuous rise of tension between law enforcement and race relations, the past year has been exceptionally challenging for the new officers. As these new recruits step foot into the field, Director Coley cautions both the officers and their families for the years ahead working with the TPD.

“Law enforcement has never been easy, but in today’s age, it’s even harder,” said Director Coley. “Families, put your seatbelts on and tighten them up. It’s going to be a long and bumpy ride.”

Congratulations to all 15 new TPD officers; Nasir C. Bland; Melquan A. Christie; Ismael F. Garcia; Randy Gonzalez- Cardona; Melvin D. Hamilton II; Joshua P. Jenei; Rudy A. Lopez; Eric Mensah; Jerry R. McClure; Phillip McGill; Jose A. Ocasio III; Alexis J. Peralta; Renny M. Peralta; Xavier Sanchez and Harold J. Williams, Jr.