FOXBORO (CBS) – Hundreds of Massachusetts State Police trainees graduated from the academy in a ceremony that looked very different from years past, due to the coronavirus.
The 240 trainees of the 85th Recruit Training Troop were all wearing face masks as they were sworn in at Gillette Stadium Wednesday afternoon.
The large venue allowed for the troopers to maintain social distancing during the ceremony, which was streamed online so that family and friends could watch. No spectators were in attendance.
In his address to the class, Governor Charlie Baker noted that these graduates are unlike any class before them.
“These trainees are becoming state troopers under truly extraordinary circumstances,” Baker told reporters after the ceremony. “They’ve overcome obstacles that no other classes had to deal with.”
The trainees completed some of their coursework remotely.
Baker said the troopers join the force “during truly unprecedented times” and defended the large ceremony, saying the state desperately needs them on the roads and in the community.
“I had mixed feelings about whether or not it made sense to do something like this, but I needed to swear them in before they could actually go to work, and I need them to go to work,” Baker said. “This was deemed as a way to accomplish both of those objectives as quickly as we possibly could.”
The new troopers will begin assignments Monday with the start of a six-week rotational period split between field postings, barracks operations, and further specialized instruction at the Academy. Following that six-week period, the new troopers will be assigned to Field Training Officers for a three-month break-in period.