“You’re One of Us Now”
by Allan Appel | Sep 24, 2012 11:15 am
Posted to: Legal Writes
Calling them “a sight for sore eyes,” Police Chief Dean Esserman swore in Douglas Pearse and three other freshly minted patrolmen in a moving ceremony at police headquarters late Friday afternoon. The four new young cops are the first installment in a new corps of cops to hit the streets over the next year—a promised 100 new officers.
Now make that 96.
As two dozen friends, family, aldermen, and police commissioners looked on from chairs arrayed on the third floor of the Union Avenue headquarters, Mayor John DeStefano read the oath to Pearse, Brian Jackson, Vincent Ovchar, and Francisco Sanchez.
All the young officers had just completed their six months of training, which took place at the state police training academy in Meriden.
After they took the oath, the men stood tall in their smartly pressed uniforms as Esserman went down the short row looking each officer in the eye and saluting. When the officers saluted back, he said to each of them, “You’re one of us now.”
“The New Haven police department has just increased by four officers, and we’re the better for it,” he said.
More recruits are on the way.
The city plans to conduct several academy classes by the end of next year to meet the goal of 100 new cops at a time when neighborhoods are all clamoring for their own walking beat cops and the understaffed department has to scramble to provide.
Pearse, who is 26, said he knew he wanted to be a cop since he was in middle school. His twin brother beat him to the profession, becoming an officer in Delray Beach, Florida, where he grew up. When the family moved to Granby, Connecticut, Pearse went to high school there and afterward to Central Connecticut State University, where he graduated with a major in criminal justice.
His mother, Anne Marshall, attended the ceremony; she is a lawyer in general practice. She said she began law school when her son began high school in 2000. They graduated together.
“My sons have always been civic minded. I’m really blessed,” she said.
Pearse said he’d eventually like to join the police SCUBA team.
That will have to wait for a while, at least two or three years. Beginning next week Pearse and the others hit the streets of New Haven. They’ll spend 12 weeks in the field rotating among different certified training officers. When those three months of on-the-job apprenticeship are complete, the officers will be assigned to what Esserman called a “permanent foot post.”
That means walking a beat in a neighborhood, not driving in a cruiser.
The rebuilding of the department gains momentum in the fall when Esserman expects eight more officers to complete training at the police facilities in Milford. A class of 28 officers should be coming on board, completing their training in New Haven’s academy at the end of the year.
“The goal is [new] foot posts in every neighborhood,” Esserman said.
Although no specific assignments have yet been made, Esserman offered a likely formula: 40 new officers for ten districts. A fair guess: four per district.
Anne Marshall said she and her son had not decided how to celebrate the moment. They were likely going to go out to get a bite to eat, although they had not decided where. “We’re not a partying family,” she said.
Tags: Dean Esserman, police academy, recruits
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