By Dennis Hohenberger
Article Credit: MassLive
HOLYOKE — The city’s Police Department has increased its ranks with the addition of a full-time officer and 14 reserve officers.
Mayor Alex Morse and Police Chief Manny Febo welcomed the reservists and Officer Alyssa A. Dailey, formerly of the Fall River Police Department, during a swearing in ceremony at City Hall on Wednesday.
Morse, who administered the oath, said he met and interviewed each recruit.
“I commend their perseverance and persistence in choosing careers in public safety and law enforcement,” Morse said.
He added that Holyoke presents challenges and opportunities for the new officers.
“There’re a lot of great things happening in Holyoke, and none of those things can happen without making sure we all have the safety we all want to see in our community,” the mayor said.
Morse said the job of a Holyoke police officers entails more than driving in a patrol car and making arrests. He told the officers they must foster relationships and engage the community, whether on the job or as volunteers.
Over time, those interactions build trust with residents who then become willing partners with the HPD.
Febo said the new officers are at the start of a long journey in law enforcement. “The officers being sworn in will learn on policing is a partnership with the community and must work together to build trust and resolve neighborhood issues,” he said.
The chief said the recruits underwent rigorous testing, physical exams, background checks and an in-depth vetting process.
“We should all be extremely proud of these young men and women for choosing to become police officers.
Morse swore in reserve officers Carolina Figueroa, Aric L. Santos, Emmanuel Andujar, James R. Murphy, Jan C. Diaz, Casey J. Smith, Damaris Sanchez, Christopher E. Perez, Gabby V. Villa, Christopher Snyder, Steven E. Negron, Ashley Feliciano, Natacha Barreto and John E. Leahy.
The recruits will attend a part-time police academy at Springfield Technical Community College. In-house training pairs the recruits with veteran police officers steeped in the community police model.
Dailey already attended the police academy and will start with the department in the coming days. A member of the Air National Guard at Barnes ANG, Dailey served 18 months on the Fall River Police Department.
She said her years at Barnes help familiarize her with the Holyoke community. “Holyoke is where I want to make my home,” she said. She sees similarities between Holyoke and Fall River, both Gateway Cities.
Reservist Emmanuel Andujar grew up in Holyoke and graduated from Dean Tech High School in 2011. He wants to make a law enforcement a full-time career, and he believes in community policing.
Andujar wants to “give back to the community” that raised him. His wife, Shirley, joined him for the ceremony.
He currently serves in the Marine Corps Reserves at Ft. Devens in Massachusetts. He also volunteers with the Young Marines.
Capt. Matt Moriarty said the reserve officers will attend the part-time police academy three days a week over the next six months. Once the officers complete the academy phase, they take firearms training.
The reservist they begin the HPD’s in-house program, which includes learning about the dispatch, records and booking operations. The reserve officers also take a driver training class with the Massachusetts State Police.
The recruits then partner with a full-time officer and begin street patrols. HPD trainers grade the reservists along the way.
City Clerk Brenna McGee presided over the swearing-in, and Captains Denise Duguay and David Pratt and Lt. Manuel Reyes attended the ceremony.