GLOUCESTER TWP. - The Camden County Police Academy graduated 108 cadets Friday, the largest class of recruits in its 62-year history.

Eighty-eight of the graduates will join the Camden County Police Department, which has 239 officers patrolling the city of Camden in its Metro Division. "Deploying hundreds of uniformed officers to the streets of Camden and prescribing a new model of policing that increases services and safety for the region is imperative to stabilize the city," said Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli Jr., who attended the ceremonies at the Gloucester Township campus of Camden County College.

State Attorney General John Jay Hoffman was among state and county officials who also attended.

The 20 other cadets will become officers through the Alternate Route Program and will work at police departments in Bridgeton, Buena, Cherry Hill, Collingswood, Egg Harbor Township, Hamilton Township, Pennsauken Township, and on Rutgers University's Camden campus.

The diverse class includes 11 women. There are also 18 cadets who among them speak seven languages other than English — Polish, Arabic, French, Spanish, Malayalam, Portuguese, and Creole. Some of the graduates also are proficient in American Sign Language, according to county spokesman Dan Keashen. More than half the recruits hold at least a four-year degree, he said.

The cadets go through a rigorous six-month training program at the Camden County College Police Academy, located at the Camden County Regional Emergency Training Center in Lakeland.

- Jan Hefler