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26 New Cops Join New Haven “Family”
by Brianne Bowen | Aug 14, 2013 8:00 am
Posted to: Legal Writes
Before she entered the police academy, Jennifer Mancini hadn’t been away from her four children in 13 years. As a new member of the New Haven police department, the former stay-at-home mom will now watch over a broader community.
Her children are on board with her new role: Daughters Meadow, age 12, and Madison, 9, came to a graduation ceremony Tuesday night for the latest class of newly trained city cops. They said they like her career and felt “really proud” watching Mancini (at center in top photo) get her badge.
After a grueling eight months in the police academy, 41 officers in all officially became cops at Tuesday night’s police academy graduation ceremony, held at Career High School. Twenty-six of the graduates will join New Haven’s police force as part of a planned expansion of 100 officers. (The others will join other area police forces.)
The event was a family affair, with many officers receiving their badges from fathers, brothers, and uncles who serve or have retired from Connecticut police forces. Many, like Officer Michael Hurley, were surrounded by friends and relatives eager to take pictures after the event. Hurley’s father and two uncles served in the New Haven police force for a combined 87 years.
Speakers at the ceremony emphasized the sacrifices made by officers and their families in order to serve others.
“I understand many of you have sacrificed eight months of your lives, missing your loved ones,” said Sgt. Anthony Campbell, director of the police academy. “You’ve been chomping at the bit for this day. I feel like a proud pop.”
By becoming police officers, the graduates have gained brothers and sisters in their fellow officers, Campbell said. “DNA does not make a family. Love does,” he explained. “I love you, and that is never going to change.”
A video of the officers’ experiences showed the trials and training that officers underwent to reach graduation. The academy condenses two and a half years of college-level classes into just 32 weeks, Campbell said. In the video’s words, “This is the part where you reinvent yourself.”
In the academy, trainees lifted tires, loaded guns at top speed, leapt over fences and walls, formed a human caterpillar to do push-ups in unison, practiced one-on-one combat, and simulated arrest situations. In one training exercise, officers sprayed students in the eyes with mace, then had them shoot paper dummies through the chest and handcuff another officer.
Trainees spent one cold January day working outside. “We were conditioning our mind, body, and soul,” graduate Jinete Marte said.
The rigor and intensity of the academy led classmates to form strong bonds, officer Joseph Galvan added. “We knew there was no way we could make it through without each other.”
Evelise Ribeiro, chair of the New Haven Board of Police Commissioners, said graduates proved themselves worthy of becoming officers. Serving as a police officer is a privilege that must be earned, she said.
Police Chief Dean Esserman (picturing pinning a badge on a graduate) noted the responsibilities that come with donning the uniform. “To serve and protect: every officer will have those words tested,” he said. He told the graduates he expects courage, compassion, and integrity from each of them: “We do not tarnish the badge that is passed to us and that one day we will pass on to others.”
Mayor John DeStefano said graduates’ strength of character will be their greatest asset, more than any weapon. DeStefano’s father served as a New Haven officer for 29 years. His badge hangs in DeStefano’s office.
The new officers will spend the next 12 weeks with field training officers to gain experience, then continue walking one of the city’s beats for their first two years of service.
As the ceremony closed, Campbell told graduates their presence made the personal sacrifices of police work easier. On the nights he cannot be at home with his wife and three children, Campbell said, he will take comfort knowing that the new officers will be with him in the field.
The 26 new New Haven cops are: Christopher Acosta, Brandon Anzalone, Patrick Bengtson, Matthew Borges, Christopher Boyle, Justin Cole, Chad Curry, Michael Daniele Jr., Jenna Davis, Edward Douglas, Joseph Galvan, Ryan Hall, Katie Hansen, Derek Horner Jr., Derek Huelsman, Michael Hurley, Andrzej Kowalski, Jenifer Mancini, Jinette Marte, Garry Monk II, Robert Stratton, Corey Thomas, Omar Thomas, Andrew Tomer, Michael Valente and Caitlin Zerella.
Eight other departments added a total of 15 officers: John Carlson (Cromwell), Jenisee Perez and Peter Conti (Hamden), Gary Coates Jr. (Mashantucket), Daniel Spedding and Matthew Tiano (Middletown), Daniel Loris and Christopher Brosz (Shelton), Matthew Linnehan, Charles Bascetta Jr., Connor Pennoyer, Jonathan Gale, and Luis Serna (Stamford), Robert Pysz Jr. (Trumbull), and Anthony Maresca (Yale).
Tags: police academy, Anthony Campbell
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