By Mike Melanson
HALIFAX — Four residents will get their career starts as Halifax police officers.
Selectmen on Tuesday Sept. 2 voted, 3-0, to hire Ryan Simpson, Patrick Deroo, Edward Buccieri and Richard Silenzi — all Halifax residents — as permanent intermittent police officers.
The appointments are pending the candidates passing physical exams. Two of the appointees, Buccieri and Silenzi, will also attend a permanent intermittent police officer academy.
Selectmen Chairman Michael Schleiff said Halifax has 7,403 residents, a quarter of whom are age 18 or younger. The median age is 37 years old. There are 2,841 housing units and dozens of business in town, he said.
Schleiff said Halifax police responded to 6,013 calls in the past year, and executed three search warrants, resulting in the seizure of 12 pounds of marijuana, a number of arrests, and seizures of heroin and cocaine.
Police Chief Edward Broderick said Halifax is hiring permanent intermittent officers in order to move them into full-time slots when they become available, fill shifts now, and to have reserves.
Broderick said when looking at the pool of permanent intermittent officers, that their work standards and availability for work would determine whether they get brought up to the next level.
“It’s up to them to work and show us that they want that, and they want to be the right fit,” he said.
Broderick recommended the four candidates, and Schleiff praised the chief’s recommendations.
“Thank you, chief,” Schleiff said. “It looks like you got a good group there.”
Ryan Simpson, who served in the US Army and is still in the National Guard, based in Braintree, said his military skills would transfer over to police work.
Simpson graduated from the permanent intermittent police officer academy in July. An Army sergeant, he also just finished an infantryman school.
“I’m a very hard worker,” he said. “No if’s, and’s, or but’s.”
Simpson said he does not like when motorists roll through stop signs. Drug enforcement interests him.
Simpson has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a squad leader in the National Guard now, in charge of eight to 12 people. He went to a warrior leader course, which drew people from all disciplines, including band members. At the final training, which included battle drills, the band members were there, and Simpson said he dealt with them, motivating and pushing them.
“I would say I’m a leader,” he said. “I learn as I go along.”
Simpson said it is tough for him to see people go through stuff. He said he has gotten calls and talked to people with suicidal thoughts. He said he hopes someone would talk to him if he was going through a hard time.
“We’re brothers in arms at the end of the day,” he said.
A leader, Simpson said, has to be accountable for the actions of others, and trust them to do the right thing.
Being away from family during deployments is tough, he said, as has been losing friends.
“People need guidance. Police are there to guide people in the right direction,” he said.
Patrick Deroo has been the loss prevention officer at Walmart in Halifax for more than two years and serves as a volunteer auxiliary police officer in Randolph.
Deroo, born and raised in East Bridgewater, has always wanted to be a law enforcement officer, and likes helping people and problem solving.
“There’s nothing else I wanted to do,” he said. “It’s just near and dear to my heart, I guess.”
The East Bridgewater police chief sent Deroo, who hoped to start as a special police officer, to the permanent intermittent academy in 2008.
Then East Bridgewater had to lay off officers, Deroo said, so, to gain experience, he became a Randolph auxiliary police officer, a volunteer position.
They have full police powers, work town details, and do normal patrols with other auxiliary officers, working 20 to 25 hours per month, he said.
Deroo said he got to know Halifax police officers and the chief working in loss prevention at Walmart, and enjoys working with them. He said purchasing his own home has been his greatest accomplishment thus far in life.
One time at Walmart, Deroo said he stopped a woman for shoplifting. As he tried to apprehend her, the woman slammed her shopping carriage into him, then stabbed him with a pen as he followed her. He said he kept his cool, detained her, and called law enforcement.
As an officer, Deroo said everyone deserves a chance to be heard.
“I like to be firm, but I like to be fair,” he said.
Edward Buccieri, 25, said he would like to have and raise a family, and be a police officer, in Halifax.
In high school, Buccieri said he did a project on his grandfather, who was in the US Marines and law enforcement and who died two months after Buccieri was born.
Buccieri is loss prevention manager for Lowe’s in West Bridgewater, and worked in loss prevention for Target in New England and New York before that.
In the military and in law enforcement, officers deal with lots of different people. When he was working on cases for Target, he would be working with store teams of 180 to 200 people at a time, he said.
“I can relate well to others,” he said. “Relating well to others is one of my strengths.”
At Lowe’s, Buccieri said he established a safety plan to protect customers and employees, and established incentives to promote safety. The entire market is following his plan now, he said.
Buccieri said he wants to move into police work because it would let him have an impact on more people’s lives, although, like retail, the community is the customer and police serve the community.
“I guess I want to be that leader in the community,” he said. “Giving back to the community, that’s the biggest thing.”
Buccieri said it is important to follow policies, especially if policies conflict with personal beliefs.
For instance, if a shopper was shoplifting $1,500 worth of merchandise, Buccieri said he would want to apprehend the shoplifter, unless store policy prohibits that. In that case, he said he would follow the policy and call police.
Buccieri, who is single, has a black lab dog named Rambo that he rescued, and they do a lot of training.
Richard Silenzi said he knew he wanted to become a police officer when he was 8-years-old.
Silenzi said his grandfather was a Boston police officer, and he would come home in uniform and tell him stories.
“I idolized him,” he said.
Silenzi is a US Marine Corps reservist, a crew member at the Fruit Center Marketplace and a security guard at Frito-Lay in Randolph.
“Halifax seems like it would be a really good fit for me,” he said.
Silenzi said he can break up a fight at a bar and can talk reason into the unreasonable.
“I’m really good at mediating disputes,” he said.
He said he does not like people who hate the police or who tailgate other motorists on the road.
Silenzi said police officers must have tact and courage.
“Personal integrity, that’s really important. Being honest is extremely important. You can’t have untrustworthy officers on any police force,” he said.
Silenzi is leader of a fire team as a Marines Corps reservist, and has four to five junior Marines under him.
He said it might be uncomfortable if he is in a situation as a police officer of having to pull over and write tickets to friends, but that is just part of the job.
If people are doing stuff that is against the law, they must take responsibility, he said.
“Nobody is above the law really, not even friends of police officers,” he said.
For fun, Silenzi said he enjoys fishing, plays harmonica, draws, paints and goes for hikes.
Selectman Troy Garron, who served in the military and in law enforcement, said it is important for the four hires that they get a good feeling for the people and town that they are working with.
“You work for the people,” he said. “We are servants of the people. We are there to help them.”
Garron said punishment and enforcement are also part of the job.
“Remember: Fair, firm and consistent,” he said.