Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis recently welcomed 27 new correction officers including four Worcester residents, Officer LexaMarie Carrero, Officer Richard Brandt, Officer William Gauthier and Class President Officer Kegan Cline to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office during a graduation ceremony held last month at Worcester Technical High School.
All four Correction Officers are part of the 38th Graduating class of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Basic Recruit Training Academy. The group of twenty five men and two women were the third class to graduate under Sheriff Evangelidis’ new increased hiring standards which he introduced shortly after taking office. The new class of recruits also referred to themselves as the “The Surge.”
Prior to being sworn in by the Sheriff, the graduates were congratulated by keynote speaker State Senator Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominster). “Today is a very special day, as all of you enter into the important and difficult profession of corrections,” Flanagan said.
“Much will be asked of you each time you enter the jail and the prison doors close behind you and it will not always be easy, but all of us are extremely grateful for your service and dedication to the noble profession of public safety.”
“I am very proud to welcome the twenty-seven recruits of the 38th Graduating Class of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and the third class to graduate under the increased hiring standards,” Evangelidis said.
“The job of corrections is not an easy one and all of us here today have a responsibility to the public safety of the citizens of Worcester County and to work together with our inmate population in order to release more productive citizens back into society. Our success although difficult to quantify, will be measured by the crimes that are never committed.”
Since taking office, 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. They must also take and pass a written exam, physical fitness test, background check and psychological screening test. Evangelidis also implemented a new policy that prohibits the acceptance of letters of recommendation from politicians.
During the twelve week academy recruits are taught to handle the daily challenges of safely keeping the care, custody, and control of inmates incarcerated at the Worcester County Jail & House of Correction. Classroom topics include legal issues, mental health in a correctional setting, staff/inmate interaction, security/emergency procedures, interpersonal communication skills, and use of force regulations.
In addition, instructors use hands-on training to teach defensive tactics, fire safety, use of restraint, searches, driver training, and weapons qualification and physical fitness is held daily. Students are also quizzed on policy weekly and recruits must maintain an academic average of at least 70 percent in order to graduate.
“All twenty-seven of you graduating here today should be very proud, as you have demonstrated hard work and dedication over the past twelve weeks to have conquered this challenging accomplishment,” said Evangelidis.