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DV Pilot police & fire

Fair Lawn Explorers shine at N.J. academy

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A special ceremony is set for Thursday for Fair Lawn’s Law Enforcement Explorer Post 902, whose members just returned from a week-long academy at Monmouth University, where they won the prestigious “Director’s Award” for the first time in their history and one of their group was named “Top Cop.”

Accompanied by Fair Lawn Officer Michael O’Brien, a 21-year instructor of the academy, and Officer Eric “Ellie” Eleshewich, the law enforcement career-interest group lived like real recruits.

Fair Lawn Explorer Post 902 with Officers Eric “Ellie” Eleshewich and Michael O’Brien

The 13 young adults, ages 14 to 21, participated in a variety of exercises and challenges, complete with boot camp-styled drills at the West Long Branch university. State, county and municipal officers also gave them classroom instruction, Fair Lawn Police Chief Erik Rose said.

“As a group, we endured long hours and many challenges,” including no phone use, lights off at 9:30 a.m. sharp and drills that began at 5:15 a.m., O’Brien told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “But the dedication these kids showed was so refreshing.”

O’Brien himself began his career as a Demarest Explorer in 1983 and has been involved with the program ever since. He received the noteworthy William H. Spurgeon, III Award in 2005 — a national honor given annually to the person who contributes the most significant leadership to the Explorers program.

The 30-year academy is sponsored by the Police Athletic League of NJ and includes participants from throughout the state.

O’Brien and Eleshewich


Now in their eighth year, the Fair Lawn Explorers nabbed 13 trophies, along with five second- and third-place certificates. The most prestigious honors: The Fair Lawn post’s first-ever “Director’s Award” and the “Top Cop” award, given to Explorer Anthony Gallo.

It will all make for a special ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Fair Lawn Heavy Rescue Squad, 16-01 Romaine Street. “In addition to a congratulatory event for their victorious achievements at the academy, several Explorers will be promoted to supervisory roles within the program,” Rose said.

“It’s an incredible honor to work with these outstanding young men and women,” O’Brien, an Explorers drill instructor who helps coordinate the program, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “Their drive, cohesiveness, and enthusiasm not only assist the law enforcement community. It also enchances their ability to someday become police officers.

“They also become role models for others.”

After camp ended last week, Eleshewich, an assistant Explorers advisor, pulled O’Brien aside in the university parking lot.

“Ellie” sighed, smiled and said: “Mission Accomplished.”

For more information about Fair Lawn Law Enforcement Explorer Post 902, contact O’Brien at 201-796-1400 x242 , or: mobrien@fairlawnpd.com .

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