Five Morris County Corrections Officers recently were sworn in to their new positions, with their parents and Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon joining in the tradition of pinning their badges on their uniforms.
“Today you have joined our family,” Sheriff Gannon told the group gathered for the swearing-in ceremony on March 28 at the Morris County Correctional Facility.
The new officers are Camille Mastroeni, Joseph Trapasso, Dexter Vargas, Charles Cardona, and Tyler Barrett.
Officer Mastroeni is married to Boonton Police Officer Joe Bolcar, whose grandfather, Edmund Bolcar, was a World War II veteran and Boonton police officer and whose father, Edward Bolcar, is a former Boonton mayor.
Officer Trapasso is a Jefferson Township High School graduate who worked full-time for the Sussex County Office of Bridges and Traffic before leaving to pursue a law enforcement career.
Officer Vargas, who was brought to the United States from Mexico City as a 9-month-old, has an associate’s degree in criminal justice and a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University.
Officer Cardona, who also has an associate’s degree in criminal justice, previously worked for the state Juvenile Justice Commission as a Correctional Police Officer at the New Jersey Training School in Middlesex County.
Officer Barrett graduated from Jefferson Township High School and earned his associate’s degree in criminal justice. He was a security officer for four years for St. Clare’s Hospital and Morristown Medical Center.
The new officers went through five weeks of training and will start intensive correctional training in April at the Essex County Police Academy.
“The leadership here is second to none,” Sheriff Gannon said of Bureau of Corrections Undersheriff Alan J. Robinson, Warden Chris Klein, and facility captains and training instructors.
He told the new officers and their families the facility has achieved accreditations from the American Correctional Association and the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare. About 3,000 inmates pass through the facility annually, Sheriff Gannon said, and a challenge is that more than half suffer a substance abuse disorder.
That’s why programs started at the correctional facility to address addictions are so important, including the Hope Wing and STAR, which assists discharged inmates with accessing medical and social resources, housing and other needs.
“If we don’t deal with people when they’re here – and we have a captive audience here – then we can’t expect them to stop their lives of crimes,” Sheriff Gannon said.
The sheriff predicted that the new officers would soon grow comfortable with their positions.
“It’s a great place, with high standards here,” Sheriff Gannon said.