VERNON-As of April 23, the Vernon Township Police Department has added three new police officers to the force, bringing the number of officers up to 34. Patrolman Shaun V. Fitzgerald, 34, Patrolman Robert A. Kulawiak, 30, and Patrolman Scott A. Carrell, 35, all graduated on Jan. 28 from Passaic County Police Academy after completing a 24-week program. Carrell and Fitzgerald are both life-long Vernon residents, while Kulawiak is from West Milford. "Two of the new officers were hired to replace two officers who went out (retired), and the third is an additional officer," said Chief Roy Wherry. "According to the Department of Criminal Justice, Vernon should have approximately 50 officers, which I would like to see. But because of the lack of money, we are limited when it comes to the number of new officers we can hire." Upon graduation from the police academy, Fitzgerald, Kulawiak and Carrell entered another 12-week on-the-job training program with the Vernon Police Department. "During the 12 weeks, these patrolmen ride with experienced field training officers who acclimate them to procedures, patrol areas, patrol techniques and township ordinances followed with the department," said Lieutenant Daniel Zill. "There is so much to learn after the academy. These new officers have had some of the best training available, but so much of being a good police officer comes with experience." After successful completion of the field training program on April 23, Fitzgerald and Carrell were assigned to the 11 p.m.-7 a.m. midnight shift and Kulawiak to the 3-11 p.m. afternoon shift for a six-month period. "After six months the officers will be assigned to a different shift for a further six months and so on until they have worked all three patrol shifts," said Zill. "After that, shift assignments will be made upon individual preferences, special training and seniority."