Evangelidis swears in 21 new correctional officers

The Southbridge Evening News

Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis welcomed twenty-one new officers – including one from Charlton and two from Auburn – to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office during a graduation ceremony held this morning at Worcester Technical High School.

Among the new correctional officers recently sown in are Michelle Beauregard, of Charlton, Daniel Joslyn, of Auburn (Class President), and Derek Pingitore, of Auburn (won the Francis T. Foley Award for Academics/Highest Class Average).

Before being sworn in by Sheriff Evangelidis, the graduates were congratulated by keynote speaker District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr. The group of twenty men and one woman made up the second Basic Recruit Training Academy under Sheriff Evangelidis’ new hiring standards which he introduced shortly after taking office. This new class named themselves the “Second Wave,” a reference to the fact that they are the 2nd class to graduate under the Sheriff’s new hiring standards.

“I’m proud to welcome the ‘Second Wave’ of recruits to join us in our mission at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office,” said Evangelidis. “We all have a responsibility to the citizens of Worcester County to work together with our inmate population in order to release more productive citizens which in turn reduces crime and increases public safety.”

Sheriff Evangelidis has made significant changes to the hiring standards in order to professionalize the department. All Correctional Officer applicants must have, at minimum, an Associates Degree or at least two years of military service. Individuals applying for positions with the Sheriff’s Department must also take and pass a written exam, physical fitness test, background check and a psychological screening test. Evangelidis also implemented a new policy that prohibits the acceptance of letters of recommendations by politicians.

“Today, you are joining a noble profession. Jobs in law enforcement and public safety are so important to a healthy society,” said Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. “A lot will be asked of you, but after completing the 12-week academy I’m sure you are all up to the task.”

During their twelve week academy recruits are taught to handle the daily challenges of safely keeping the care, custody, and control of inmates at the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. Topics covered in the classroom include: legal issues, mental health in a correctional setting, staff/inmate interaction, security/emergency procedures, interpersonal communication skills, and use of force regulations. Instructors use hands-on training to teach defensive tactics, fire safety, use of restraint, searches, driver training, and weapons qualification. In addition, physical fitness is held daily and they are quizzed on policy weekly. Recruits must maintain an academic average of at least 70% in order to graduate.