Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis recently welcomed twenty-one new correction officers to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office during a graduation ceremony held on December 11th at Anna Maria College.
Officer Nicholas Sullivan of Auburn was part of the 44th Graduating class of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Basic Recruit Training Academy. The group which also included six military servicemen were the ninth class to graduate under Sheriff Evangelidis’ 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 United States military applicants are given priority status in the hiring process.
“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. Our new officers have met the highest hiring standards in corrections today and have completed the finest training academy in Massachusetts” Evangelidis continued “Corrections is a hard job with significant challenges, our success although difficult to quantify will be measured by the crimes that are never committed in our community.” said Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis.
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, 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 donating to Planting the Seed Foundation’s Annual Toy Drive, assisting with the Sheriff’s 10th Annual Food Drive, serving breakfast at St. John’s Food for the Poor Program in Worcester as well as running as a unit in the Veterans Memorial 5K Road Race and Walk.
“All twenty-one officers graduating here today should be very proud, as you have demonstrated hard work and dedication over the past twelve weeks in overcoming the challenges presented. I look forward to working with each and everyone of you.” said Evangelidis.