LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Thirty-two men and women were recognized for completing the rigorous Western Massachusetts County Correctional Officer Academy.
There were a lot of tears as these recruits celebrated with their friends and family after overcoming a lot of adversity the past few months. The graduation was held outside the Stonybrook Stabilization & Treatment Center in Ludlow Friday morning.
Over the last three months, these recruits were trained in everything from de-escalation and conflict resolutions, to defensive tactics. There was also a grueling fitness component, as they were tested physically just as much as mentally. They relied on each other to get through the hardest days.
“It’s dedication. But it definitely takes one another, there’s no way I could have competed in this without every recruit by my side pushing me and helping me.” Rebecca Rickson, graduating Recruit from Warren
They can take the weekend to celebrate, but Sheriff Cocchi needs them on post starting Monday. They will go through a field officer training program for the couple of weeks.
“This is an unbelievable accomplishment for the 32 recruits. When you look at what’s happening around the country, when you look at the post commission and the changes in Massachusetts, it’s really looking at the quality of training.” Sheriff Nick Cocchi
Recruits were presented with the academic, physical fitness, and sheriff awards. Next, was the oath of office. The 32 standing up, repeating back these words:
Each of the 32 recruits had their own unique story in how they got to this point. 22News spoke with one from Jersey City who was homeless before excelling in this program.
“I had a difficult childhood, ran away from home, and he took me in and guided me. I want to show everybody just because you wear a badge doesn’t mean you’re a bad guy. I know law enforcement officers who wear this badge, and help the community out.” Govanni Thompson, recruit from Jersey City
Govanni is talking about, Taylor Lane, who gave him a home, a mentor, and a brother he never had.
“I don’t take any credit for the man. He is that dude, always had it in him. He needed to be umbrellas, because it was weight on him. He had to plant some roots, and now he is a monster. I’m going to continue to be him.” Taylor Lane
From homeless to a correctional officer, Govanni goes into the world of criminal justice head on with the opportunity of turning inmates lives around.