By Arianna Pepe
CCC Journalism Program
GLOUCESTER TWP. – The Camden County College Regional Emergency Training Center trains people interested in becoming police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or other first responders.
The center is at 420 Woodbury-Turnersville Road in Gloucester Township, near the Camden County College Blackwood campus and other Camden County government facilities.
A police academy operates at the center. Founded in 1988, the academy offers basic police officer training, basic county corrections officer training and juvenile detention officer training. It also has special training courses that are taught by law enforcement workers.
People wishing to enter the police academy can do so by being hired, being sponsored by a police department or paying their way through. The program takes 20 weeks. Graduation from the police academy usually takes place in the winter and summer.
Lt. Kevin Lutz, chief instructor at the police academy and a Camden County police officer, teaches the basic class for police officers.
“We are very progressive,” Lutz said about the academy. “We are ahead of the curve.”
A fire academy also operates at the center. This academy offers courses for training future firefighters and people interested in a fire science degree. Graduation from the fire academy usually takes place in the winter and spring.
The fire academy has a burn building, smoke house, self-contained breathing apparatus training maze, confined space simulators and other live training props.
Stephen Robinson, a member of Gloucester Township Fire District 6 and Lindenwold Fire Department, attends the fire academy. He has taken classes to obtain certification in areas such as junior firefighter, firefighter 1, hazardous materials awareness, vehicle extrication and incident command. He has also taken a New Jersey state emergency medical technician class and is taking a class to obtain certification as a New Jersey state fire inspector.
“I wouldn’t trade my experience at the Camden County Regional Emergency Training Center for any other training center,” Robinson said. “Professionalism is shown by the instructors and passed onto the students.”