NECC/Methuen Police Academy Holds Graduation
A total of 72 men and women graduated Friday, April 12, 2019, from the Northern Essex Community College/Methuen Police Academy in the NECC Sport & Fitness Center on the Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St.
The class was the second largest class since the academy’s inception in 2015. The graduates represented 26 police departments and ranged in age from 22 to 47. Twelve were military veterans, said Methuen Police Sgt. Dan O’Connell, who welcomed the standing room only audience of family, friends, and police officers. Anecdotally he noted that in 26 weeks the student officers ran 100 miles and suffered from various maladies including dehydration, pneumonia, influenza, a dislocated patella, and frostbite.
O’Connell praised Lawrence Detective Dean Murphy and Methuen Police Officer Nicholas Dore for serving “as the backbone of the academy”. He noted that the partnership with Northern Essex and local police departments allows for “cutting edge training”. To date, he said there are 369 graduates of the police academy.
The mission of the police academy, said NECC President Lane Glenn, “is to provide the highest quality training. What we do here is one of the things I am most proud of and it fills me with tremendous pride. You walk out of this academy with a calm and commanding presence. You have an incredibly difficult job that is becoming more challenging over time.”
Methuen Mayor James Jajuga, a former Marine, police officer, legislator, and Massachusetts Secretary of Public Safety, said, “What I am most proud of is the time I spent as a police officer.”
He warned them that they will be faced with great challenges, but that there is “no greater reward than when you can help someone. The best job in America is being a police officer. There are times you will be afraid…control that fear. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. Be wise…be calm, but always stay strong and proud.”
Lawrence mayor Dan Rivera thanked the families of the student officers.
“They didn’t get here by themselves,” he said. “Thank you for your support of these men and women.”
The national anthem was sung by Officer Jeanette DeMasi of the Wakefield Police Department and Natalie Mardoyan of the Waltham Police Department. The opening prayer was lead by Officer Andrew Himmer of the Bentley College Police Department.
DeMasi, class president of Recruit Officer Course (R.O.C.) 03 reminded her classmates that “our blood turned from red to blue
today. Whether you are 20 or 40, expect some trials…but today we are a stronger version of ourselves than when we reported on day one.”
Officer Conor Clark of the Haverhill Police Department, class president of R.O.C. 04. joked that more than once he thought, “They are trying to kill us.” He went on, “What separates us at the beginning brings us together in the end.” He asked his fellow officers to remember as they move through their careers to “remember where you came from”.
Class gifts included a $1,000 donation to fellow officer Lillian Marie Santana of the Lawrence Police Department, who lost all her belongings in an apartment fire during the academy.
NECC/MPD Police Academy Background
All the graduates completed an intensive 26-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.”
The next NECC/Methuen Police Academy will begin May 13, 2019.
Here is a list of the awards given at graduation.