Northern Essex Officer Among Police Academy Graduates
There is always a palpable sense of joy with each Northern Essex Police Academy graduation. Student officers endured grueling physical training and tedious coursework for the previous six months. And it all culminates with this hourlong ceremony, full of pomp and circumstance, with their family and friends in the audience, and classmates who had become family by their sides.
The Northern Essex community was particularly joyful at the graduation of ROC-04 on Friday, August 11, because one of their own was crossing the stage. Officer Elizabeth Raymond began working as an institution security officer at Northern Essex Community College in 2022. From day one, her goal was to become a sworn member of the campus police department. Raymond talked to the chief of campus police, and, just six months later, was enrolled in the academy.
“I’ve always wanted to be in law enforcement. You ask anyone who knew me when I was little and they’d tell you that’s all I’ve ever talked about,” reflects Raymond of her time growing up in Oxford, Massachusetts.
But first, at her mother’s insistence, she went to college, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Worcester State University and then a master’s degree in justice studies from Southern New Hampshire University. Raymond then worked for several security companies before landing at Northern Essex. She quickly became a familiar face around campus.
“I love just talking to people, going to events, and learning people’s names,” she says. “I don’t want to just be there in bad times, I want people to know me from the good times.”
She jokes that when she started at the academy, she worried that notoriety might come back to haunt her. “I thought, ‘Oh, the instructors all know me already from around campus. I can’t just fly under the radar.’”
Raymond’s concerns soon turned to getting through the physical conditioning, which included long runs on frigid late winter mornings. “I was working out every day for months leading up to the start of the academy. I would get in at 5:30 in the morning but it still wasn’t enough. It was a shock to the system!”
The classwork was just as challenging. But Raymond hit her stride and became a tutor for other members of her class. “We pushed each other in the best ways and cheered for each other. Sometimes I would be more concerned about the scores of the person I was tutoring than my own scores!”
Raymond and her classmates say they will continue supporting each other as they begin their next chapters. The new officers are working at more than a dozen different departments across the state. For Raymond, however, this next chapter is a homecoming.
“I’m feeling so relieved and excited. I finally get to go back to where I want to be and talk to those people I already know. I had to put some of my relationships on hold here at the college to focus on the mini world of the academy. I’m looking forward to jumping back in and celebrating with the college. I want to be there for everything.”