NEW BRAINTREE, Mass. (WWLP) – These state police trooper recruits have diverse backgrounds, some are moms and dads, others are former local police officers, and some served in the military.
On the grounds of a former prison in New Braintree, Mass. sits the sprawling state police academy. Within these walls 174 recruits are learning what it takes to wear the badge.
Before these men and women in blue can protect and serve they must complete 23 weeks of rigorous military like training. Chris Zengo, a recruit, said, “It’s just non stop from 5:30 to 9:30, there no time for rest.”
From the classroom to the shooting range, it’s all about honor and discipline. Then, time for chow where every day the name of a fallen officer is read aloud and written down by each recruit. A reminder of the potential dangers of a career that longtime troopers otherwise describe as rewarding.
Col. Timothy Alben, Massachusetts State Police, told 22News, “What profession would you get into where you can say you’ve made that kind of difference in people’s lives. Sometimes routine. Sometimes once in a career. I’ve been in this business for 31 years. I don’t think I’ve had more than a couple days that have been similar.”
Gail Buck, a recruit, said, “It just doesn’t seem real I said to one of my friends who happen to be a trooper. I can’t believe they are going to let me wear that uniform. And he said, they’re not letting you wear it. You earned it.”
They graduate on May 9th, will find out their assignments, and will then go through field training.
Between 2006 and 2014, the state police force has shrunk by nearly 500 troopers. With a casino about to be put up and more troopers approaching retirement, Col. Alben said this graduating class comes at an important time.