NEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford Police Department is proud to present the eight graduates of the Junior Police Academy, who officially graduated from the program December 6.

Congratulations to Kalil Grady, Janpier Medina, Dalante Pelletier, Angelina Ptaszenski, Craig Ptaszenski Jr, Joseph Rebello, Shandaliz Rivera and Jacob Spooner.

The Drill Instructor's Award, which is awarded to given to the recruit who gives 100 percent effort 100 percent of the time, was presented to Janpier Medina.

The Academy Director's Award was given to Kyle Medina, Janpier's older brother. Kyle was not an academy participant, but received the award because for every class, he rode his bicycle from the north end of the city, escorting his brother to the program and then remaining on site the entire time so that he could escort him back home.

Parents, guardians and friends attended the graduation to cheer on the youngsters for their accomplishments. After the ceremony, refreshments were served courtesy of Domino's Pizza.

The Junior Police Academy program began Oct. 4 and gave boys and girls ages 11-13 the chance to receive an inside look at the New Bedford Police Department. Academy members learned about a variety of law enforcement and safety-related topics, including crime scene investigation, radar detection, potential dangers of social media, rope climbing, first aid and CPR and police canine deployment. Participants also rode on a port security vessel and wore specially designed goggles to simulate the effects of impaired driving.

The academy was led by Sgt. Pamela Melo, supervisor of the Family Services Unit. Instructors were Detectives David Brown, Dominique Sherburne, Alberto Silva and Stephen Taylor of the Family Services Unit.

Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro and Capt. Amos Melo began the academy in 2000 when they were a lieutenant and sergeant, respectively. The academy ran through 2006 before being reintroduced this year.

--New Bedford Police