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Local roots run deep for most of Newton’s newest officers

Mayor Setti Warren of Newton (left) conducted the swearing-in of nine new police officers on Friday. The nine will receive 10 weeks of field training before beginning  solo patrols.

Mayor Setti Warren of Newton (left) conducted the swearing-in of nine new police officers on Friday. The nine will receive 10 weeks of field training before beginning solo patrols.

Eight men and one woman were sworn in as Newton police officers on Friday, and five more are expected to join the force this summer as soon as space at one of the state’s police training academies is available.

The new officers will receive 10 weeks of field training in Newton before being sent out on patrol alone, according to Police Chief Howard Mintz.

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Mintz said four of the new officers are joining the force as a direct result of tax revenues from the override of Proposition 2½ passed by city voters last March.

The new positions will allow an officer to be assigned to crime prevention full time, an additional officer in the department’s traffic bureau, and beefing up the patrol bureau, Mintz said.

“You have entered into a very unique profession,” Police Lieutenant Dave MacDonald told the new officers after the ceremony, which included each member having their badge pinned to their uniform by a family member.

“You’ll be dealing with people at their worst times,” MacDonald said. “And you’ll come across things you have never seen before.”

He told the new officers to never consider their learning complete, and reminded them that their actions reflect on their profession.

‘You’ll be dealing with people at their worst times. And you’ll come across things you have never seen before.’

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“If you’re having a bad day and you go out there and you’re discourteous to someone, everyone wearing this patch is maligned,” he said, pointing to the Newton Police Department insignia on his uniform.

The nine officers were sworn in by Mayor Setti Warren during the ceremony in police headquarters.

“I am really excited about the background and quality of these new officers; they’re really exceptional,” the mayor said.

The new officers spent 22 weeks at a state training academy before being sworn in, Mintz said.

Of the nine, all but one have Newton roots; seven attended Newton North High School, and one graduated from Newton South.

The lone new officer without a local connection is Michael R. Gaudet, who was raised in Lynn and is a graduate of Lynn English High School. He was a deputy sheriff in Suffolk County prior to joining the Newton force.

The other new officers are:

 Juan M. Garcia, who grew up in West Newton and graduated from Newton North in 2004. He served in the Coast Guard, and was a federal officer for the Department of Homeland Security.

 Alexander A. Coletti, who grew up in Newton and graduated from North in 2006, where he participated in the Big Brother and Big Sister program, was a member of the baseball team, and captain of the ice hockey team.

 Joseph J. Brooks, who was raised in Auburndale and graduated from North High in 2005. He worked previously as a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His father, John Brooks, is a sergeant in the Waltham Police Department, and he has two uncles on the Boston force.

 Brett P. Ferolito, who was raised in Newton and graduated from North in 2004. He worked in the Newton-Wellesley Hospital public safety department, and is a first lieutenant in the Massachusetts Army National Guard.

 Andrea F. Ferguson, who grew up in Newton Upper Falls and graduated from North in 2003. She has worked as a 911 emergency dispatcher in Newton, and received state recognition for handling a 911 call in which she successfully assisted in the birth of a baby.

 Gregory P. Helms, who moved to Newton in 1993 to a house next door to where his father was born and raised. He attended North High, and graduated from the New Hampton School in New Hampton, N.H. He worked as part of the security team at the Prudential Center in Boston, and for the Bentley University Police Department.

 Namil Cho, who graduated from Newton South in 1998. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a degree in economics, and worked as a martial arts instructor before joining the force.

 Kevin L. Durickas, who graduated from North in 2000. He taught with City Year in 2001 and worked as an electrician before joining the force.

Ellen Ishkanian can be reached at eishkanian@gmail.com.
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