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Children Of Slain Officer Graduate From Junior Police Academy

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Jersey City police officer Marc Anthony DiNardo was killed in the line of duty nine years ago. But his legacy lives on as all three of his young children graduated together from the Jefferson Township Junior Police Academy on Friday.

"I think he likes knowing that we are doing this to honor him and do it for him," Gwendolyn DiNardo told CBS2's Meg Baker. Gwendolyn is a junior instructor this year and says she plans to follow in her father's footsteps.

"It's her third year. She was assigned her own squad and ran that squad, and we just don't pick anyone," said Detective Joe Kratzel of the Jefferson Township Police Department.

"My oldest daughter, Gwendolyn, always talks about becoming police officer" said Gwen's mother, Mary DiNardo. "That's both good and scary, since what we had gone through."

Officer Dinardo was just 37 years old when a bullet him in the face during a shootout in 2009. His three children were all under the age of 4 at the time.

"He had an infectious laugh, well-liked, well-respected," said Captain Vincent Wollelm of the Jersey City Police Department. "It's important for us to come out here today, a couple of our guys came out with me, just to let everybody know that we'll never forget him."

"I miss Marc as if it was yesterday," Mary DiNardo said. "To see how much they have grown -- they were 4, 3 and 1 -- and the people that they are becoming, it's beautiful and it's a blessing."

Twelve-year-old Marc Anthony DiNardo, named after his father, wants to go into the Air Force or become an engineer. He's also a bit a jokester.

"Did you feel him with you when you were doing those push-ups?" asked CBS2's Meg Baker.

"I don't know, I just I felt this strange feeling," Marc responded. "It was probably just sweat though."

And it was cadet Ella Dinardo's first year at camp.

"It was a lot of work, but it paid off in the end," she said.

Ella says she enjoyed the training but law enforcement may not be in the cards for her.

"I want to be a singer and an actress," she said.

One of the core values taught at the academy is team orientation.

"So you guys are a team? The DiNardo team?" Baker asked.

"Yes!" they responded.

This is the first and only year that all three will be able to attend the academy together. Gwen will be too old next year.


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