NAUGATUCK — With raised right hands and oaths to uphold their duties to the country and the borough, Taylor Field and Anthony Mistretta on last Friday joined the Naugatuck Police Department.
“I’m excited, nervous,” said Field, 24, of Seymour. “I just have a ton of emotions running through my body right now.”
Mayor Robert Mezzo swore the two in Friday as the department’s newest officers as family, friends and top police brass looked on.
“You’re entering a fantastic police force, from top to bottom,” Mezzo told them.
Counting Field and Mistretta, the department has hired seven new officers this year and expects to hire at least two more, Deputy Chief Joshua Bernegger said.
The candidates are being selected from a list of 300 applicants and must pass oral, written, physical, psychological and polygraph tests, Bernegger said. They were also interviewed by the Police Commission.
The two will spend about six months at the state police academy before coming back to the borough for another 10 to 12 weeks of field training. They will then become full-fledged patrolmen.
“Society places high expectations on their public service officials,” Bernegger said, adding he thought Field and Mistretta were “top quality.”
Before joining the police force, Field was stationed in Hawaii as a member of the Marine Corps. As he starts his new job, he will continue his studies at Western Connecticut State University.
“I just wanted to help people and make the community feel safer,” Field said.
Mistretta, 23, lives in New Milford and has worked as a Comcast technician. He got a bachelor’s degree in criminology from Central Connecticut State University with an eye toward becoming a police officer.
“It’s just something I always wanted to do,” Mistretta said. “I like the teamwork of a police department, doing something better, serving a higher purpose.”
Many new hires are replacing patrolmen who took the borough’s early retirement deal this year, or patrolmen who were promoted to replace retiring officers. The department last month promoted three patrolmen to sergeants, two sergeants to lieutenants and one lieutenant to captain.
The early retirements allowed officers who had worked in the department for at least 20 years to retire with pensions calculated as if they had worked 25 years. In exchange, all new hires are receiving defined contribution pension plans similar to 401(k)s.