NEW BRITAIN-19 officers will now begin their duty in communities around the state after graduating from the Police Academy on Friday.
In a ceremony at Trinity-on-Main, the 19 officers were given their badges and diplomas, capping off months of rigorous physical and mental training.
Mayor Erin Stewart kicked off the proceedings thanking the candidates for choosing to represent their city’s government in a position that not many choose to pursue.
“Every day is going to bring challenges,” Stewart said. “Thank you for choosing to serve.”
Seven of the 19 graduates are now part of the New Britain Police Department. One Officer has joined the Berlin Police Department, and one has joined the Bristol Police Department. The rest of the graduates are now Officers in Greenwich, Manchester and West Hartford.
After Stewart spoke, New Britain Police Chief Christopher Chute congratulated the recruits, but told them that their families deserve just as much praise, if not more.
“This day isn’t about you, it’s about your families,” Chute said.
Chute is a third generation officer, which has allowed him to experience both the perspective of an Officer and of their loved one.
“I’ve experienced both sides of the coin,” Chute said. “It’s much harder to be on their side.”
Chute concluded his remarks by emphasizing how important it is to be a member of the community that they serve. He told the graduates seated on stage to go to high school sporting events, eat at local restaurants and more.
“If you want to be successful in this career, you must be fully invested in your community,” Chute said.
The final guest speaker was State’s Attorney Brian Preleski for the Judicial District of New Britain. Preleski’s father served as a police officer in Bristol beginning in 1949.
Preleski opened his remarks with a topical anecdote to remind the new Officers of the unpredictability of the job.
“Unlike a batter for the Houston Astros coming to the plate, I don’t know what’s coming next,” Preleski said. “I do know that you’re going to save someone’s life, and I know you’re going to be proud that you chose this profession.”
Officer Salvatore Tramontano was chosen by his peers to speak on behalf of the Session 15 Academy graduating class.
He detailed some of what they experienced in the training process, and acknowledged that the training must continue every day on the job.
“We know that the academy might be over, but our training’s only just begun,” Tramontano said.
After the speeches concluded, one by one the new officers received their diplomas and badges. This resulted in some emotional moments in some cases where the badges were pinned on by family members who are currently cops serving in their own departments.
Three individual awards were given out.
Officer Kelly Shimo, who will be serving in West Hartford, received the Chief Samuel J. Luciano Award for having the highest academic average in the class.
Officer Joshua Gordon earned the Firearms Achievement Award for being the best marksman in the class. Gordon is one of the seven Officers that will be joining the New Britain Police Force.
Officer Coby Vaccarelli earned the award for fitness. He will serve in the Bristol Police Department.
New Britain Police Captain William Steck closed the ceremony with a reminder of the importance of ethics.
“Do the right thing at the right times for the right reason,” Steck said. “Every one of you has earned every bit of this moment, and no one can take that away from you.”
The ceremony ran from 11 a.m. to about 12:30 p.m. on Friday.