A former army captain was sworn in as a full-time Oak Bluffs police officer on Wednesday.
Michael Cotrone, a native of Suffield Conn., graduated from the Plymouth Police Academy last Friday where he was president of his class.
“He is a stellar individual, and well respected among his peers,” said police chief Erik Blake.
Mr. Cotrone moved to the Island this week, and received two rounds of applause at Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting, following Mr. Blake’s introduction. The chief commended his new employee’s deployments to Iraq in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.
He also received the best oral board score that the assessment center had ever seen, Mr. Blake told selectmen.
Mr. Cotrone is not an Islander, which Mr. Blake said was always a risk in hiring new officers. But he said Mr. Cotrone has made a commitment to the community. Mr. Cotrone completed a reserve intermittent training course in town, and worked as a special officer here last summer.
Earlier in the week, Mr. Blake described Mr. Cotrone as mild-mannered and intelligent, adding that the other members of his department had, “hearts and stars coming out of their eyes” when they talked about him. Some members of the police department attended his graduation ceremony in Plymouth. The academy takes 26 weeks to complete, and requires over 800 hours of training.
Mr. Blake delivered the keynote address at the graduation. In his speech, he reflected on 27 years in law enforcement, in which he rose through the ranks, and now serves as president of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. He told the graduates about both the advice he was given upon his own academy graduation, and the advice he wished he was given.
He said that any officer who makes law enforcement decisions based on factors such as race, color or sexual orientation is not worthy of the profession. He also encouraged them to put down the cheeseburger and pick up the weights, and said it is possible to fit in church and football on the same Sunday.
Mr. Cotrone fills a spot left vacant by Derek Back, bringing the number of full-time officers in town to 15.