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'Wonderful' COP

By MICHAELANGELO CONTE JERSEY JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

A Jersey City police officer whose job focuses on the kinder side of police work has been nominated for a national America's Most Wanted 2009 All-Star Award for helping a blind city woman beset by crime.

"I don't know what I would have done without her - my life was horrible," said Mary M. Jackson, 76, about West District Community Relations Officer Cora Kerton, who is among roughly 60 law enforcement officers and emergency responders from across the nation nominated for the award.

"I'm just grateful that I met her and I'm grateful of the things she's doing for me and other people," said Jackson, a retired Jersey City teacher, who is legally blind and walks with a cane. "She is a wonderful person."

Kerton, 38, met Jackson in October when a resident asked the officer to check on her after her Grant Street home was burglarized four times in five months.

"When I went there she was just crying and shaking," said Kerton, who became a Jersey City police officer in 2003. "I was devastated because I can't believe someone would take advantage of one of our seniors and continue to do it."

Kerton, a mother of two, swung into action, starting with securing the windows and doors of Jackson's apartment.

And Kerton didn't stop there. She brought clothing for Jackson and signed her up for the food program Meals on Wheels. She helped Jackson relocate to a new home, a secure senior building near the Jersey City waterfront.

The officer is now working on getting Jackson a homecare worker and transportation service for her medical visits. Perhaps Kerton's greatest gift has been companionship.

"Kerton was eventually, through coaxing and accompanying, able to relieve this elderly woman of her agoraphobia and provide her with a sense of security, which in turn gave birth to a sense of freedom and a new life," according to the "America's Most Wanted" Web site.

Born and raised in Newark, Kerton attended the University of Maryland and Virginia State University, where she earned a degree in marketing management. She filled in the application to become a police officer on a whim, but says now she wouldn't have it any other way.

"I love helping people who really need my help, and it's easier for me to maneuver through the red tape because of my position," Kerton said.

©2009 Jersey Journal
© 2009 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.

Stand, be counted for this kind cop
Friday, February 27, 2009

M ost members of the Jersey City Police Department are people who want to do their job well with no pats on the back. So it is often difficult to report on aberrations within the police community.

Conversely, it is a joy to make others aware of a special effort by one of the city's finest. Police Officer Cora Kerton makes our day.

In October, Kerton, 38, met Mary M. Jackson, 76, a legally blind retired school teacher. A local resident asked the officer to check in on the retiree whose Grant Street home had been burglarized four times in five months.

Kerton said that when she arrived at Jackson's home, she found the retiree "crying and shaking."

"I was devastated because I can't believe someone would take advantage of one of our seniors and continue to do it," said the officer, a mother of two who joined the force in 2003. First, Kerton secured the windows and doors of Jackson's apartment. Then she bought clothing for Jackson and signed her up for the food program Meals on Wheels. Eventually, she helped the elderly blind woman relocate to a secure senior building near the Jersey City waterfront. Now the officer is trying to get Jackson a homecare worker and transportation service for medical visits. More importantly, she has become a companion and friend.

As a result of her kind efforts, Kerton has been nominated for a national America's Most Wanted 2009 All- Star Award. She is among roughly 60 law enforcement officers and emergency responders from across the nation nominated for the award.

The winner will get $10,000, a trip to a NASCAR event, and will make a speaking tour around the country. City residents and fellow officers can help one of their own win this event. All they have to do is vote for Officer Kerton at the Web site www.amw.com/allstar/2009/ and anyone can vote, once per day by clicking on her image and then clicking "vote."

Of her career choice, Kerton said: "I love helping people who really need my help, and it's easier for me to maneuver through the red tape because of my position." Help a member of the Jersey City Police Department get a pat on the back, and national recognition.

©2009 Jersey Journal
© 2009 NJ.com All Rights Reserved.