Seven new officers who joined the UMass Police Department in recent weeks were formally welcomed to the ranks in an April 30 ceremony in the Massachusetts Room of the Mullins Center.
Calling them ‘tremendous, talented individuals,” Chief Tyrone Parham swore in the seven as about 75 fellow officers, family members, friends and campus staff looked on. The officers also received their badges, with many of them being pinned by parents, spouses or siblings.
Hired last July, six of the new officers completed 22 weeks of training at the Northern Essex Community College academy in Methuen on Feb. 23 and are now finishing up three months of field training under UMPD supervision. The seventh graduated from a police academy in Reading last year and joined the department in January. Four of the officers are UMass Amherst graduates.
Parham said the new hires arrive at an important time as the department has seen eight retirements over the past two years.
Their road to becoming police officers, said Parham, began in late 2016 when the recruits were among some 400 applicants who took the initial written exam. They later passed physical fitness tests and underwent multiple interviews before their selection and heading to the academy.
The new officers are:
Melissa Bak is a 2015 graduate of Westfield State University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. During her junior year, she participated in a study abroad program that took her to 18 countries. As a senior, she interned at the South Hadley Police Department and the State Police barracks in Northampton. From 2015-17, she was a dispatcher with the State Police in Northampton.
Andrei Cimpan is a 2016 UMass Amherst graduate with a B.A. in communication and a minor in sociology. He worked as a resident assistant and also served as a UMPD police cadet and cadet coordinator. His brother, Daniel, is currently a police cadet.
Marleigh Felsenstein graduated last year from UMass Amherst with a B.A. in journalism, minors in political science and sociology, and a certificate in criminal justice. From 2015-17, she was a UMPD police cadet. She completed internships with the Massachusetts State Police, Northwestern District Attorney and the New Jersey State Police. She most recently served as a dispatcher for the Western New England University police.
Alison Fenton attended Westfield State and graduated from UMass Amherst in 2016 with a B.A. in sociology and a certificate in criminal justice. She has worked as a parking enforcement officer and a cell matron for the Amherst Police Department. She interned at Eastern Hampshire District Court and the Amherst Police Department.
Devin Mackey graduated cum laude from Springfield College with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. During his senior year, he interned with the Springfield Police Department. From 2012-17, he was employed at Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield, starting as a campus safety officer, then safety services manager and most recently as director of campus safety. Prior to that he was a part-time police officer in Lee, Mass., and a border patrol agent for the Department of Homeland Security.
Amanda Santos graduated last year from UMass Amherst with bachelor’s degrees in sociology and legal studies and a certificate in criminal justice. She was a police cadet in 2016-17 and also worked on campus as a security monitor and area supervisor for Residence Hall Security and a resident assistant in Residential Life. She interned with the Watertown Police Department and Eastern Hampshire District Court’s probation office.
Christopher Tucker graduated from the Municipal Police Training Committee academy in Reading in August 2017. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in pre-law at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. As an undergraduate, he was a student officer, vice president of the criminal justice organization and played varsity football. After graduating, he was a security officer at Lowell General Hospital. He recently completed his field training on campus.