Town to form student and senior police academies Residents to also have emergency response team, regular audience with police director

To bolster the Guttenberg Police Department while improving community relations, town police officials announced the upcoming formation of new in-house organizations.

According to Guttenberg Police Director Michael Caliguiro, the department will be forming new junior and senior police academies, a civilian response team, and allowing the general public to meet with Caliguiro regularly.

“Ninety percent of police work is community-related,” Caliguiro said. “We want to have interaction with the community and provide community service.”

The first initiative will be the Junior Police Academy, geared towards students from the sixth through eighth grades.

The junior academy will teach the elementary school students what police life is all about and possibly encourage law enforcement as a career path.

“They will be receiving instruction on the history of policing,” Caliguiro said. “They will also receive a history of law and prosecution. It will be a lot like the regular police academy, teaching everything they need to know about police work.”

The junior academy, a cooperative effort between the Guttenberg police and the Board of Education, is slated to begin Thursday at Anna L. Klein School, with the first meeting starting at 6 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.

Other than being police instructors, the teachers will come from all walks of life, teaching topics from self-defense to constitutional law.

“There will also be gang and drug awareness,” Caliguiro said. “We want to be able to motivate the young people, to show them exactly what police officers do and get them interested in law enforcement.”

Prospective students are being told to ask the school officials about registration for the academy.

It is an eight-week program and Caliguiro is optimistic that the children of the town will want to participate.

The senior academy

The next program, the Senior Police Academy, is similar to the Junior Police Academy but it involves the elder members of the community.

The senior academy will begin classes in June, teaching residents aged 55 and older about crimes they can be on the alert for, like scam artists and identity theft.

“We’ll discuss crimes that are geared toward senior citizens,” Caliguiro said. “We’ll get together once a week with the seniors and the classes will be taught by the same officers who teach the Junior Academy. A lot of seniors have already approached me and told me that they were excited about the program and wanted to learn more.”

Caliguiro said that both programs will culminate with official graduation commencement services.

“It should be very beneficial to the town,” Caliguiro said.

Civilian Emergency Response Team

The third program is a continuation of the Civilian Emergency Resource Team (CERT), which teaches residents how to assist in a major crisis.

“It’s to help deal with natural or man-made disasters,” said Caliguiro, who was involved with the CERT program while he was a member of the West New York Police Department. “It’s a nationwide program and it’s been very successful thus far.”

Calguiro said that he was deployed with the CERT program to help victims of Hurricane Andre years back. The CERT program has also assisted victims of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina in recent years.

“We teach methods in first aid and rescue efforts,” Caliguiro said.

The CERT classes will also begin in June. Last year, Guttenberg had about 40 applicants for the classes. Caliguiro is hopeful to have more this time around.

“We urge any interested people to contact the Guttenberg Public Safety office,” Caliguiro said.

That number is (201) 868-2315, extension 101.

The final program instituted will be the “Meet the Director” sessions, where Caliguiro will meet with concerned residents monthly to discuss police-related matters.

“It’s a way to show the citizens that we appreciate their input,” Caliguiro said. “We are asking for their help. These meetings will begin in the second week of June and will continue all year-round. We’ll set up the meetings at local areas, either at a diner or my office, and discuss anything that they might think is a problem.”

Guttenberg Mayor David Delle Donna applauded the efforts of the Police Department in creating these programs.

“These initiatives will only go to enhance the community,” Delle Donna said. “I think our police department, headed by Lt. [Joel] Magenheimer and Director Caliguiro is doing a fabulous job. I’m very happy that these programs involve the senior citizens.”

“The mayor and Town Council have been quite receptive to it,” Caliguiro said. “They are encouraging any ideas that I may have. I want Guttenberg to continue to be a professional town. This is just a small step toward what we can eventually do.”

Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either or


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