50th Leads Jr. Police Academy PT

Photo and story by Staff Sgt. Barbara Harbison, NJDMAVA/PA

When the Teaneck Police Department ran this year’s Junior Police Academy, what was more natural than asking the 50th Main Support Battalion, for their support?

Maj. Mark Piterski, Capt. Allen Mellen and Master Sgt. Russell Falstrom met the 11-14 year-olds each morning at the Milton Votee Park in Teaneck to lead them in physical training, which includes stretches, with names like windmill, high jumper and squat bender, followed by some standard Army calisthenics, including push-ups, and ending with a one mile run.

Maj. Piterski leads 11-14 yr oldsCapt. Mellen stated that the 50th has worked with the Teaneck Police Department on several other activities. "This is just one way of getting our battalion involved in the community," said Capt. Mellen. "It lets the community get to know us."

Lt. Robert Wilson, commander, Community Policing Bureau said that the police department has a good relationship with the 50th and wants the kids to keep the Guard as one of their career options. He also said that the while the Academy offered physical training for the first time last year, this was the first time the Guard had taught it.

“It helps set the tone for the day, to get the students listening to directions and to burn off some excess energy,” he remarked. He noted that the parents seemed to like what the Guard was doing – more than once he observed parents on the sidelines watching and even participating in the exercises.

The Junior Police Academy has been in existence for six years giving children of Teaneck township an inside view of law enforcement training and responsibilities.