Friday, January 2, 2015
Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis with 25 new correction officers at the recent graduation ceremony held at Anna Maria College.
PAXTON — Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis recently welcomed 25 new correction officers to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office during a graduation ceremony at Anna Maria College.
East Brookfield resident Officer Kevin Gatto and Leicester residents Officer Matthew Champagne and Officer Matthew Guinee were part of the 42nd Graduating Class of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Basic Recruit Training Academy.
The group, which also included four military servicemen, were the seventh class to graduate under Sheriff Evangelidis’ new increased hiring standards, which he introduced shortly after taking office.
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 has also implemented a policy that prohibits the acceptance of letters of recommendation from politicians, while U.S. military applicants are given priority status in the hiring process.
“Today, we welcome the 25 new recruits of the 42nd Graduating Class of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. Our new officers have met the highest hiring standards and have completed the finest training academy in Massachusetts.” Evangelidis continued, “With over 6,200 inmates going through the jail doors each year, we look for the best individuals we can find to make our community a safer place and to ensure the public safety of our citizens. Corrections is a hard job with significant challenges; our success although difficult to quantify will be measured by the crimes that are never committed.”
During the 12-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, 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.
Also during the academy, the recruits performed community service providing toys for the Plant the Seed Foundation, assisting with the ninth annual Sheriff’s Food Drive and running as a unit in the 2014 5K Turkey Trot, which benefitted the National Alopecia Foundation.
“All 25 of you graduating here today should be very proud, as you have demonstrated hard work and dedication over the past 12 weeks in overcoming the challenges presented. I look forward to working with each and everyone of you,” said Evangelidis.