SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -
Many new police officers graduated from the Western Massachusetts Regional Police Academy on Friday morning. This is the 50th recruit officer class.
Some of the graduating cadets were welcomed by the chief of their respected department, others by their fathers or brothers.
Recruit class president Joshua Helems, now officially a police officer for the South Hadley police department, lead his class through a rigorous six months of training.
Helems said his class really focused on the modern day use of technology, and how this can help them while out patrolling.
"We now have to deal with that much more on the streets before than we used to. Social media is big video is big, texting, all these things that we now have to confront that classes two, three, five years ago didn't have to see," said Helems.
Many new officers will be protecting and serving areas that have seen a recent spike in gun violence. Helems said they've been trained well in defensive tactics.
"Whether it be gang-related, whether it be drug-related, alcohol-related, you name it we face it all in the last weeks coming into graduation. So we've already seen a lot of possible scenarios. We do quite a bit out here than most classes tend to do, so we've seen quite a bit already," said Helems.
Fiftieth class leader Steven Moore, now an East Longmeadow police officer, said his leadership position helped him form better relationships with his fellow cadets.
"It was nice that we all came back from similar backgrounds either corrections or military or something like that so we all had an understanding," said Moore.
Director Curt McKenzie said the officers wont be on their own for several months, they will be assigned field officers for training in their respective departments.
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