BLACKWOOD The Camden County Police Academy graduated 68 recruits on Friday, one of the biggest classes since the academy was established in 1988.

The event, at Camden County College's Dennis Flyer Theater, was attended by county freeholders, law enforcement officials, state assemblymen, and other dignitaries.

"We're just excited to put more skilled officers on the streets," Camden County Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli said. "We're trying to staff up our police departments."

Acting State Attorney General John Jay Hoffman was the keynote speaker at the graduation, which will provide 31 new police officers for the county-run force that patrols the city of Camden. Other graduates will go on to serve as police officers in Bridgeton, Cherry Hill, Lindenwold, Gloucester Township, Laurel Springs, Brooklawn, Margate City, and Mount Laurel.

Since Burlington County shut down its police academy in 2014, people looking to become police officers in the area have flocked to the Camden County Police Academy and the Gloucester County Police Academy, which is to graduate 35 recruits on Wednesday at Rowan University.

Both academies run six-month programs where recruits are taught by experienced officers, college professors, federal agents, and other experts in the law enforcement field.

"This will help the city keep moving in the right direction," Cappelli said of the recruits destined for the Camden force.

- Brielle Urciuoli