Some 21 new recruits of the Dutchess County Law Enforcement Academy officially became law enforcement officers at their graduation ceremony on Friday.

The recruits, ranging in age from 21-35 will work for six different police agencies; the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department, Village of Wappingers Falls Police Department, City of Beacon Police Department, Pine Plains Police Department, and the Town of Lloyd Police Department.

The 20th session of the Dutchess County academy was once again directed by DCSO Sgt. Shawn Castano. It’s the third academy the sergeant has run and, having been in law enforcement since 1993, considers it to be the most rewarding achievement of his career.

On Wednesday evening, the recruits were put through the paces of various scenarios where all of the knowledge they have gained since starting the academy on Oct. 15 were put to the test. The situations, all monitored by highly skilled instructors, included a felony traffic stop, an encounter with two armed burglars, and dealing with a schizophrenic individual in crisis.

After each pair of recruits goes through a scenario, the veterans critique their performance and offer suggestions on how to improve their chances for success and ending each shift safely. The instructors on hand at the drill were satisfied with the performance of the recruits.

According to Sgt. Castano, law enforcement has evolved over the years and officers are now better trained to handle encounters with people who are differently abled or emotionally disturbed. “A lot of situations we encounter can be de-escalated by talking with the subjects” said the sergeant after one of the exercises and continued by saying “empathy goes a long way when dealing with people in crisis.”
One recruit stands out among the others; Fanny Pacheco. The 29-year-old Dutchess County Deputy Sheriff was born in Ecuador and arrived in the United States at the age of 14. When asked why she has chosen this career path, the recruit smiled and said “it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since coming to this country.”

Another notable occurrence will be the graduation of recruit Robert Monaco. He is the third generation of the Monaco family to wear the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Deputy uniform and both his father (currently a lieutenant) and grandfather (retired) were on stage when the recruit took his oath on Friday.

Other recruits, such as Nicholas Gasparre mentioned a desire to continue serving when asked about their career choice. The veteran of the US Marine Corps served four years and felt like he hadn’t served enough time yet. Recruit Douglas Hansen, who will join the Village of Wappingers Falls PD, cited the beheading of a journalist in the Middle East as his call to leave a job he was unhappy with and serve his community.

The graduation ceremony was held on Friday at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Various awards were also presented at the ceremony and include honors such as Top Academic, Top Firearms, and “Top Cop”. At the ceremony, the following took their oath of office:

Dutchess County Sheriff's Office
Brett S. Blank
Brent P. Blauvelt
Alec G. Brandow
Michael P. Burger
Stephen S. Costello
Nicholas Gasparre
Weronika Jeziorski
Eric C. Loprete
Robert J. Monaco
Fanny P. Pacheco
Paul G. Reinheimer
Dominic A. Thom

Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department
Erik D. Anderson
Michael J. Hargraves
Eric R. Romeo
Jeffrey H. Sinclair Jr.

Village of Wappingers Falls Police Department
Douglas P. Hansen
Devin L. Ludwig

City of Beacon Police Department
Carl V. Garofolo III

Pine Plains Police Department
Stephen B. Camurn Jr.

Lloyd Police Department
Nicholas J. Paradies

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