On Wednesday evening, Police Officer Robert Amarone said goodbye to 21 of his new friends.
At the Graduation ceremony for the 2015 Spring Class of the Citizen’s Police Academy, 20 of the 21 students were greeted by Amarone, Chief Robert Gagne, Asst. Chief Anthony Cuozzo and Donald Lewis, Chairman of the Orange Police Commission.
During their last couple of hours of the 8 week course, which began on March 11, the students of this, the largest class ever assembled, asked many follow-up questions and expressed all positive comments about their experiences with the various instructors who volunteered their time. Including: Sgt. Ray LaPlante; Officer Brian Foote; Detective Harry Burke; Officer Jonathan DeRubeis; Detective Mike Kosh; ISU Lt. Andrew Steinbrick; Detective Brian Petrucelli; Lt. Max Martins; Officer Chris Brown and K-9 Loki; Officer Mary Bernegger and K-9 Trent; State’s Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor and Judge Richard Arnold.
A couple of the students were repeat attendees. At least one previously attended the Milford Citizen’s Academy and stated that she feels closer to the Orange officers than any of the police in her former hometown.
Selectman Judy Williams was a member of the class of 2015, the first public official to enroll. Chief Gagne thanked her for her participation and said he hopes in the future other board and committee members also will take the class so they can learn about the inner workings of the department.
According to Chief Gagne, the Orange Police Department developed ways of community policing before it became a “thing.”
Amarone said he couldn’t have asked for a better group of people for his first year in charge of the Academy. The students showed their appreciation by presenting him with a wood and brass plaque commemorating their time together.
The Orange Police will run another Citizen’s Academy next Spring. Future courses may offer different department related subjects, such as the dispatchers’ job.
Some of this year’s graduates want to repeat the course in 2016, and they highly recommend it to others.
“I know so much more about everything the Orange police do every day and I appreciate their openness and I’m very comfortable with all of them,” said Lisa Hartshorn, a member of the Orange CERT.
The department will announce its next class in January 2016, so when they do, don’t hesitate in signing up for it.