“Being a cop in the town you grew up in can be complicated sometimes,’’ says Fair Haven Patrolman William Lagrotteria. “But it’s the best feeling in the world.’’

The seven-year department veteran and juvenile officer was honored Monday night as Patrolman of the Year by the borough council.

An assistant football and track coach at Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, his alma mater, Lagrotteria also mentors teenagers with a career interest in law enforcement through the borough’s Police Explorer program. Two of the teens he mentored are currently in police academy and another one is joining the Marines, the patrolman said with pride.

Lagrotteria is the department’s D.A.R.E program representative, educating elementary students about substance abuse. He also speaks to F-FH students about the dangers of driving under the influence, texting while driving, and other traffic dangers.

“Dealing with the kids, I know what it’s like growing up here,’’ Lagrotteria said. “I know what they’re thinking. There’s no other community like Rumson-Fair Haven. I love this area and I love working here… I just want to thank all the kids I’ve worked with for the last six years.’’

The council’s proclamation honoring the 26-year-old heralds his ability to handle normal patrol duties and still follow up on juvenile cases, “building trusting relationships with many juveniles and their parents.’’

“He’s not only a great officer on the road, but more so in the community through his interaction with the kids in town,’’ said Chief Darryl Breckinridge. “He helps bring us together. His work makes our job a whole lot easier.’’