WESTPORT — For most students, getting an 89 or 90 on a class project or a final exam would be an accomplishment, maybe even good enough to be one of the top grades in the entire class.

If that’s the case, then the newest Bristol County staff members absolutely aced the Basic Correction Officers Academy.

Nineteen men and women celebrated the conclusion of the eight-week academy Thursday night at a graduation ceremony in the auditorium at Westport High School. Valedictorians Kyle Arruda and Tyler Perry topped the class with a scoring average of 98.17, while the lowest score of all the graduates was an 89.75.

“This academy has blessed me with 18 new brothers and sisters and I hope we never lose the bond that we have developed,” Arruda told the crowd Thursday night.

For the past eight weeks, academy recruits received classroom instruction and hands-on application in everything from policy and procedure to defensive tactics and how to approach hostage situations. They received a full slate of first aid training, from CPR to being official First Responders, but the most important thing they learned since Jan. 7 is how to work together as a team.

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson congratulated the graduates and told them about the immense opportunity awaiting them.

“Your law enforcement careers will bring the opportunity to have an immensely positive impact on your neighborhoods and communities,” he said. “Every shift, every day, you’ll have the chance to mentor, coach, teach and redirect people who have lost their way, and turn them down a path of becoming a productive member of society and their community. You’ll play a big role in public safety, and more specifically, make your communities safer places to live, work and raise a family.”

The academy graduates and new correction officers at the BCSO are Arruda (class treasurer), Musa Bojang, Samuel DeJesus (vice president), Jacob Dennis (president), Hannah DeSousa, Nicholas Glavin, Angela Meredith, Omaida Montanez (secretary), Jennifer Perry, Tyler Perry, Philippe Proulx, Nicholas Revoredo, Steven Sanchez, Jordan Serrano, Michael St. John, Jackson Tocchio, Ryan Vasconcelos, Tyler Ventura and David Washington.

The Class of 2019 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 2019 did.

BCSO Training Director Craig Assad praised the academy instructors — Lt. Robert Matos, Sgts. Martha Silveira and Moses Isidoro, and Correction Officer Ryan Isherwood — noting they have more than 50 years of combined experience in corrections and go above and beyond to get the recruits ready for the challenges of working in a jail environment. He then directed his remarks to the recruits, echoing the words of 11-time National Basketball Association champion Phil Jackson in a metaphor about togetherness.

“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”

Bristol County is accepting applications for the next academy, which is slated to start in July. For more information about becoming a CO, including a downloadable application, visit www.bcso-ma.us/employment.

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