LINDEN, NJ — Joining the Linden Police Department was just one way for Ariel Franjul to give back to the United States after immigrating here from the Dominican Republic in 1997 at about 10 years old.
Franjul, who was sworn in as an officer on Dec. 11, moved to Linden after being honorably discharged in the Marines.
“I love the town,” he said after the ceremony in Linden City Hall, later adding, “I wanted to continue serving my country. This country gave me a lot of opportunities.”
Franjol was sworn in with another recruit, Carlos Ralda, in anticipation of the two completing their training Dec. 14 at the John H. Stamler Police Academy. Ralda is a Linden native who graduated from Linden High School, Lt. Christopher Guenther said during the ceremony.
The two new recruits were joined by their families, who stood alongside them as they were sworn in. Chief Jonathan Parham spoke directly to those families during the ceremony, too.
“My message to the family is ‘thank you,’” Parham said. “Thank you for preparing them for law enforcement. … Great police officers come from great families. It’s just that simple.”
Mayor Derek Armstead said the new recruits will have the opportunity to change some of the public’s “negative perception of what policing is.”
“You have a tremendous opportunity to give the public reassurance that you’re their friend, that you’re here to help,” Armstead said, adding that he still wanted officers to do “what you have to do” to fight crime.
There are currently 115 officers in the Linden Police Department, including the two new recruits, Guenther told LocalSource. Seven people were hired for the academy in 2016, but only three attended and one resigned before finishing the academy, he said. Recruits spend about 20 weeks in the academy, where they learn use of force techniques and criminal law. Linden is still below its full complement of 153 officers, and there are plans to hire more next year, Armstead said after the ceremony.