Paxton – Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis has announced the graduation of the largest academy class in the history of the Sheriff’s Department. The graduation ceremony held on December 2, 2016 at Anna Maria College welcomed thirty new correction officers to the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers Marcus Pettigrew and Robert Small, who was also the recipient of the Lawrence P. Sullivan Physical Fitness Award, of Auburn were part of the 46th Graduating class of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office Basic Recruit Training Academy.  The group which included five military servicemen were the eleventh class to graduate under Sheriff Evangelidis’ increased hiring standards which he introduced shortly after taking office.

During his tenure, 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.  United States military applicants are given priority status in the hiring process.

“As we continue to build a strong department dedicated to serving our community, our new officers have met the highest hiring standards in corrections today and have completed the finest training academy in Massachusetts.” said the Sheriff.   “With almost 90% of our inmate population incarcerated due to addiction issues, the field of corrections can be a very challenging one.  Our primary responsibility is to serve and protect the citizens of Worcester County and to do that effectively we must work daily with these individuals so they are less likely to reoffend upon their release.  I am proud to welcome the largest graduating class in the history of our department, comprised of thirty of new correctional officers who will now join us in that mission.” said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis.

During the formal graduation ceremony, among the traditions that were observed was as a badge-pinning where the new officers were “pinned” into their new profession by a family member.