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Howell PD Surprises Special Needs Resident With Graduation Gift

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Alex Vasquez, a now-graduated Growth Through Opportunity cadet, was honored with a special present from Howell police this week.

HOWELL, NJ - Members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and Howell Township Police Department joined forces earlier this week to honor a special member of the Howell community.

Former Growth Through Opportunity cadet Alex Vasquez - a "huge" Kansas City Chiefs fan - was presented with a replica Super Bowl ring by members of the Prosecutor's Office and Howell police.

During the Howell resident's time at the Prosecutor's Office, Vasquez talked about his love for the Chiefs team (specifically quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes). It was when Kansas City won Super Bowl LIV earlier this year that Vasquez was promised a replica ring to celebrate his team's victory.

The Growth Through Opportunity (GTO) program is a 16-week cadet program hosted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. The program provides the opportunity to intern in a law enforcement agency for community members with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The internship allows members to learn valuable job skills and contribute to the diversity and inclusivity of law enforcement agencies.

"Special acknowledgment to Captain Jeff Wilbert of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office for spearheading this event and including the Howell Police in this special day. Jeff went above and beyond for Alex. Truly genuine," wrote Howell Police Chief Andrew Kudrick.

Vasquez was a graduate of the inaugural class of the program in 2019. Monmouth County was the first county in the Garden State to offer a program of its kind, following a similar program launched in Virginia in 2014.

The Howell Township Police Department took to Facebook to announce the special event: "We congratulate Alex on his graduation!"

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