NEW BEDFORD – Mohammad Mir had the perfect words for his fellow graduates of the 40th Bristol County Correction Officers Academy Wednesday night.

“On July 10, we came in as individuals,” Mir, class president, said to the graduates, family, friends and Bristol County staff who packed the auditorium at GNB Voc-Tech for the ceremony. “Now we stand together as brothers and sisters.”

Twenty-five men and women were officially sworn in and received their badges at the ceremony, which marked the culmination of eight weeks of training on everything from security procedures and defensive tactics to suicide prevention, communication, and most importantly, teamwork.

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson told the graduates that they will have a direct impact on public safety in Bristol County and beyond by being there to support and coach rehabilitating inmates.

“You can help put them on a path to personal and professional success,” he said. “There is nothing more rewarding than making a difference in someone’s life; and you’ll have the opportunity to do that on every shift every day.”

The graduates of the 40th Bristol County Correction Officers Academy are Justin Almeida-Sylvia, Kyle Belliveau, Michael Bernardo, Nicholas Cabral (treasurer), Trent Cardoso, Joseph Cortes, Omar DePina, Cury DeSchamps, Carlin Desmarais, Cameron Drouin, Tyler Estrella (secretary), Jose Fernandez, Adam Gibeau, Mohammad Mir (president), Joshua Monteiro, Nicholas Muncey, Tracey Perez (vice president), Shayna Place, Kyle Powers, Steve Rapoza, Andrew Rivet, Robert Ruggiero, Brenden Saurette, Ryan Souza and Joseph Teixeira.

The Class of 2017 earned a guidon, a special marker used throughout history in the military and law enforcement to signify unit designation. The guidon is awarded by the training staff based on the class’ teamwork and togetherness; not every class receives the honor of carrying a guidon to graduation like 2017 did.

Training Director Craig Assad welcomed the graduates to the Bristol County team and told them to never stop learning in their corrections careers.

“As you progress through the weeks, months and years, your training never stops,” he said.

Assad also brought attention to the shining work of the rest of the training team: Sgts. Martha Silveira, Robert Matos and Moses Isidoro.

“I work with the best team in corrections right there,” he said.

Sheriff Hodgson closed his remarks with words of encouragement for the new corrections officers on the opportunities they will encounter at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department.

“We have the best canine team in the state, our programs and support teams are second to none, and there are career opportunities for advancement in every aspect of our organization. All promotions in the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office are based solely on merit,” he said. “Any of you here could be a canine deputy, crime scene investigator, Captain, Major or Colonel. Anyone here could be the superintendent.

“Anyone here could be the next Sheriff of Bristol County.”

The Sheriff’s Office is currently accepting applications for the next corrections officer academy, which is slated for January. More information, including a downloadable application, can be found online at www.bcso-ma.usor by email to Caitlin DeMelo, ADS Human Resources, at caitlindemelo@bcso-ma.org.

-Bristol County Sheriff's Office