NECC/MPD Academy Graduates Largest Class
“I commend you and thank you for your career choice in deciding to become a police officer. You will not find another more rewarding or noble career, Daniel Zivkovich, executive director of the Municipal Police Training Committee, told the student officers and their families and friends during the Friday, Sept. 21, graduation of the Northern Essex Community College/Methuen Police Academy graduation.
It was the largest academy graduation with 77 graduates ranging in age from 22 to 52 representing 26 police departments. Both Brookline and Lawrence had the largest representation with nine student officers each.
Graduates came from diverse backgrounds like Maseana Wright, 29, of Brookline. A young, single mom, who briefly called a shelter home, she earned an associate degree and was working security when she saw an ad to become a Brookline police officer. After passing the civil service exam she was hired and sent to the academy. While attending the academy her dad, who lived out of state, died.
“I learned that I’m stronger than I thought,” she said. “I can handle things under pressure.”
Another Brookline officer Tim Novak, 35, was a U.S. Army veteran who had earned a graduate degree and taught history before deciding to tap into past military police training, and apply to the academy.
An opening prayer was offered by Joshua Spoonhour of the Gordon College Police Department who said, “We pray you continue to lead us… Make us a blessing to those we encounter…embolden us to stay true to our morals.”
George Moriarty, Northern Essex Community College director of workforce development and adult education, said it was inspiring to see the gym filled with family and friends in support of the student officers as they fulfill their dreams.
“The fact so many police departments send their recruits to “this academy speaks volumes to the training we provide,” he said. “They graduate with the knowledge, skills, and essential hands-on-training they need.”
He cited the recent Merrimack Valley gas explosions as proof that police officers play an “essential role.”
“They are there to help us…to guard and protect us in the time of our greatest need,” Moriarty said.
Zivkovich agreed that the Merrimack Valley gas explosions highlighted the role of police officers as first responders.
“Police officers are willing to sacrifice for people they don’t even know,” he said. “Especially the most vulnerable like the elderly and children. It’s not an easy time to be a police officer. It’s no secret police officers are under scrutiny right now. You have an opportunity…to shape and define our profession and the relationships within our communities.”
He presented them with a four-point challenge – serve as police officers not just members of law enforcement; serve with honor; serve with courage and commit to everything they do.
“You are obliged to be the best you can be,” he said. “You lost your right to be unfit physically and mentally…be prepared. No one wants a police officer showing up at their door who is only 90% prepared.”
Methuen Mayor James Jajuga, who watched as three Methuen police officers graduated, said being a police officer is the “best profession in the whole world as far as I’m concerned.”
Their time at the academy helped them build their “foundation”, he explained, reporting to their police departments is their “house”.
“Life and society are changing dramatically. You have to change with it,” he said.
Brookline Student Officer Timothy Novak, president of Class 01, encouraged his classmates to “stay vigilant, but remember to find the humor where you can.“
Medford Student Officer Jessica Durham, president of Class 02, shared a few inside jokes with the graduates and then told them she has never been more proud than when they volunteered in Lawrence following the gas explosions the previous week.
Moving forward in their careers, she said, “I wish you safety and strength.”
Student Officers Give Back
During the last few months, the student officers participated in fundraising road races and collectively made donations to the both the ALD Foundation and the Neurofibromatosis Foundation. Both disorders effect relatives of two of the student officers.
A graduate of last year’s class, Lawrence police officer Ivan Soto, was recognized and received a check for continuing on duty during the gas explosion fires despite knowing his own home burned to the ground.
Methuen Sgt. Dan O’Connell, interim director of the NECC/MPD Academy, reassured the graduates that they are ready to serve as “confident & competent” police officers.
NECC/MPD Police Academy Background
All the graduates completed an intensive 24-week program that covered constitutional law, prevention and intervention, community policing, domestic violence, elder abuse, victims’ rights, and other topics. All training took place on the Haverhill Campus except for firearms training and emergency driving techniques, which were held, at off-campus locations.
Northern Essex manages the academy with guidance from an advisory board that includes police chiefs from Amesbury, Haverhill, Methuen, Lawrence, and North Andover. The NECC/Methuen Police Academy is authorized by the Municipal Police Training Committee
The academy opened in February 2015 in response to a shortage of academies in the area. At the time, Haverhill Police Chief Alan DeNaro, said that the Merrimack Valley has needed a regional police academy for over 25 years. “By partnering with NECC, we will be able to move quickly and efficiently train our new recruits as they embark on their chosen profession.”
For more information, contact George Moriarty at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978 556-1224.