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Collingswood Recruit Among Largest-Ever Camden County Police Academy Class

Officer Samuel Rocco was among 108 of the largest graduating class in the history of the academy on Friday.

Collingswood Police Officer Samuel Rocco, seen here at his swearing-in ceremony earlier in 2013. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.
Collingswood Police Officer Samuel Rocco, seen here at his swearing-in ceremony earlier in 2013. Credit: Matt Skoufalos.
Collingswood Police Department recruit Samuel Rocco was among the largest graduating class in the history of the Camden County Police Academy, county officials said this week.

Rocco, who was hired as a Special Officer Class II by the borough in February 2012, became a full-time, probationary officer in April 2013. He was one of 108 recruits to graduate from the academy during a ceremony at Camden County College Friday afternoon.

Rocco has already been sworn into full-time service in Collingswood, and other members of his class will join police departments in Cherry Hill, Pennsauken, Bridgeton, Buena, and Egg Harbor and Hamilton Townships.

The class includes 11 females and 18 cadets that speak seven different languages, including Polish, Arabic, French, Spanish, Malayalam, Portuguese, Creole, and American Sign Language. More than 50 percent of recruits hold a four year degree or higher.

Over the course of the six-month training program, cadets learned from veteran officers, federal agents, college professors and civilian experts in a variety of fields.

Boosting numbers in the Metro Division

The 62nd class was made up of 10 agencies and included 89 cadets who will join the 239 officers already patrolling with the Camden County Police Department, officials said.

“Deploying hundreds of uniformed officers to the streets of Camden and prescribing a new model of policing that increases services and safety for the region is imperative to stabilize the city,” Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. said in a prepared statement.

During an August 2013 press conference, Camden County Police Chief J. Scot Thomson said the CCPD is having early success thanks to its additional resources, to which the new recruits will be added.

“When you have officers who come to work and do good, proactive community policing, this is the result,” he said at the time.

Thomson's remarks come on the heels of a contentious labor battle waged among the county and the Camden City police union, however, during which one veteran officer told Patch that younger recruits were pitted against seasoned officers

The establishment of the countywide department came despite the F.O.P. voting it down and various legal challenges that are still pending in state court.

The Camden County College Police Academy is located in the Camden County Regional Emergency Training Center at Lakeland and is associated with Camden County College.

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