Southbridge resident completes correctional officer training

By June 10, 2020 Newspaper

Zachary Raymond

By: Southbridge Evening News, June 4, 2020

WEST BOYLSTON — With his newest class of 11 recruits, including Zachary Raymond of Southbridge, ready to graduate after completing numerous interviews, mental health screenings, physical fitness metrics and a rigorous 12-week academy at the Worcester County Sheriff ’s Office, Sheriff Lew Evangelidis and his department were ready for their latest recruits to take their official oath and begin active duty on the line at their correctional facility. A normal rite of passage for the 52 previous Basic Recruit Training Academies has been a large graduation ceremony full of Sheriff’s Department traditions with friends and family. Many of the ceremonies are held at Anna Maria College in Paxton. This year’s WCSO Basic Recruit Training Academy #53, like graduation ceremonies around the country in the era of Coronavirus, was very different.  A private, socially distanced and masked ceremony provided by Sheriff Evangelidis was held on the grounds of the
Sheriff’s Department.

In all, eleven recruits and a small group of the Training Staff were in attendance. During the very brief ceremony, a masked Sheriff Evangelidis thanked the recruits for “stepping up to assist the Department in our critical mission of public safety, especially during this challenging time that we all find ourselves in,” while sharing he “could not be more proud of this class.” Officer Zachary Raymond of Southbridge was one of the graduating recruits. As a member of the Army National Guard, Officer Raymond was one of four graduates with prior military service During the ceremony, the recruits avoided the traditional cadence style entrance, presenting of the colors and customary pinning. Instead, 11 recruits remained stoic, masked and socially distanced in their seats until it was time to stand to take their official oath as Correctional Officers. All were grateful to have a ceremony, which was streamed on Facebook Live for their families to see.  “In this uncertain time, we felt it was important to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of our newest correctional officers. I know the recruits and their families appreciated the small, safe and private ceremony we provided,” Evangelidis continued.  “Now, they will begin the important work done every day at the Sheriff’s Department to help protect public safety and make Worcester County a safer place.”