The Middlesex and Norfolk Sheriffs’ Offices celebrated the graduation of 47 new corrections officers in a ceremony held Wednesday, November 6 at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Melrose.
The graduation capped the completion of the 36th Middlesex Sheriff’s Office Basic Training Academy. Forty-two graduates joined the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, while five joined the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office.
“The 42 men and women who joined the ranks of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office today, represent the best and brightest from a pool that began with more than 1,100 applicants, 640 of whom took our entrance exam last November,” said Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian.
Upon assuming office in 2011, Sheriff Koutoujian made it his top priority to increase the number of academy-trained officers. Over a two-year period 95 academy-trained officers have now been added to the ranks. Prior to 2012, the last academy class graduated in 2008.
“Having fully, academy-trained officers creates a safer environment for the officers, those in our custody and the public,” said Sheriff Koutoujian.
Those who graduated Wednesday received 21 weeks of classroom and practical training focused on corrections and criminal justice systems, transportation procedures, defensive tactics, firearms and first-responder training among other areas. Graduates had to successfully pass both classroom and physical fitness tests.
Among those joining the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office are North Reading resident Daniel Sillari III, Wakefield residents Russell Carman and Christian Roberto, and Woburn residents Michael Cusato, Peter Gavin, Jr., Christopher Hardy and Peter McLaughlin.
Norfolk Sheriff Michael Bellotti offered opening remarks at the graduation ceremony, while Massachusetts Department of Correction Commissioner Luis Spencer gave the keynote address.
In a special ceremony during Wednesday’s graduation, Sheriff Koutoujian presented the Medal of Valor award to Middlesex Sheriff’s Officers Sean Lee and Jonathan Persson. Officers Lee and Persson successfully prevented a jail detainee from escaping during a medical trip to the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary in July. Officer Persson was shot in the leg during the violent confrontation.
“Corrections is a little appreciated and often dangerous part of the criminal justice system,” said Sheriff Koutoujian. “The men and women who work in this field never know what events will confront them as was evidenced July 31. The actions of Officers Lee and Persson exemplify the tremendous dedication, training and professionalism of those who work in corrections.”