FITCHBURG — The fifth Recruit Officer Course of Fitchburg State University’s groundbreaking police program graduated from the police academy Friday, Sept. 9, ready to report for duty in municipal police departments across Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The 21 members of the fifth ROC completed bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice and spent the past 17 weeks in the police academy. The majority of the graduates have already been hired by police departments in Massachusetts.
Academy Director Lisa Lane McCarty recounted meeting Officer Sean McCue when he visited campus as a high school student. His dream then was to one day serve his hometown of Fitchburg as a police officer. On Friday, he graduated from the program and has already been hired by the Fitchburg Police Department.
Lane said that was just one example of a “truly remarkable” group of officers, who possess practical police skills as well as compassion and empathy. “If I have done my job, they all possess the knowledge, skills and tactics to be good police officers,” she said. “What will make them exceptional, is they know they have the ability to make people a little better than they found them.”
Class leader Michael Masterson of Pepperell addressed the families, elected officials and police leaders gathered in Weston Auditorium and recounted the camaraderie that was forged among the 5th ROC members. In fall 2018, 90 recruit officers began the five-year program, and just 21 remained by the academy’s conclusion on Friday.
“I can proudly say that I wouldn’t trade this group for the world,” said Masterson, who thanked the academy staff for being role models and modeling the highest standards. “The lessons taught by all of you will forever be ingrained in how we perform our duties.”
Masterson said the new officers should hold their new profession to the highest possible standards. “True perfection is unattainable,” he said. “Strive for excellence, not perfection, because the world we live in is not perfect.”
Fitchburg State’s police program, developed in collaboration with the state’s Municipal Police Training Committee, allows graduates to complete — in five years — their bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as municipal certification to serve departments in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. It is believed to be the first program of its kind in the nation.
Fitchburg State President Richard Lapidus saluted the fifth ROC members for successfully completing a rigorous program amid the singular disruptions of the pandemic.
“Your commitment and your passion for your chosen career is impressive and commendable,” said Lapidus, who encouraged the students to continue with their master’s degrees. Police reform in Massachusetts will make their advanged degrees highly desired, he said. “The hard work and sacrifice will ultimately pay off.”
MPTC Executive Director Robert Ferullo Jr., retired chief of the Woburn Police Department, said graduates of this program are not only well-prepared to serve their communities, they are positioned to be future leaders in the field.
“Welcome to the greatest profession on earth,” he said.
Ferullo described the rapid evolution of the profession just in the past few years, and said the graduates are ready to face the challenges ahead if they follow a simple rule: “Do the right thing,” he said. “Do what you learned at this phenomenal institution.”
Natick Police Chief James Hicks, chairman of the MPTC, has already hired two of the fifth ROC graduates, twins John and Stephen Delehanty. Hicks said the Fitchburg State police program, embedding academic and skills training over four years, is a model that will serve the profession well.
“Continue to take what you learned over these last four-plus years, because that’s going to be the essence of your success,” he said.
The fifth ROC graduates include:
Benjamin Ashton of Leominster (hired by the Portsmouth, N.H. Police Department)
Scott Cormier of Ashburnham (hired by the Ashburnham Police Department)
John Delehanty of Natick (hired by the Natick Police Department)
Stephen Delehanty of Natick (hired by the Natick Police Department)
David Fors of Lunenburg
Shane Gilman of (hired by the Clinton Police Department)
Emily Grant of Mansfield
Brett Halloran of West Yarmouth
Steven Ingman of Winchendon
Joseph Mancuso of Dracut
Michael Masterson of Pepperell
Toros Matellian of (hired by the Mendon Police Department)
Sean McCue of (hired by the Fitchburg Police Department)
Jake Minear of (hired by the Ayer Police Department)
Travis Morcaldi of (hired by the Fitchburg Police Department)
Michael Sellards of (hired by the Concord Police Department)
Kyle Smith of Lincoln, R.I.
Matthew Smith of (hired by the Sherborn Police Department)
Tristan Straker of Lawrence (hired by the Georgetown Police Department)
Alexia Surprenant of Dracut (hired by the Ayer Police Department)
George Tibbets III of Lunenburg
Those interested can learn more about the program and Fitchburg State’s other undergraduate and graduate level criminal justice programs at fitchburgstate.edu/criminaljustice.