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In Tactical Mode....
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Saturday, July 19, 2008
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WEST SPRINGFIELD - Mayor Edward J. Gibson has authorized the hiring of three police officers.

The authorization is conditional upon the individuals passing the physical examination and police academy training.

They are Brian F. Battista, Nicole M. Hebert, and Sean E. Curley, the three recommended by the Public Safety Commission and Police Chief Thomas E. Burke.

Initially, Gibson said that he was interested in filling two entry-level officer posts, but decided to ask for three because it is likely that the Police Department will see at least one retirement between now and the next scheduled police academy session.

The Public Safety Commission on Wednesday interviewed seven candidates for the positions.

After the interviews concluded, Commission Chairman William J. Fennell asked Burke for his views on the candidates.

He said he had an opportunity to review their folders, and relied heavily on the investigations of Police Detective Sgt. Mark Sypek and Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Harlow.

Battista is a Marine Corps veteran who was stationed in Iraq, Burke said.
"He's had a lot of adversity in his life, and he's come through it with flying colors," he said.

He also praised Battista's initiative.

Hebert has worked in the Police Department for three years, and proved herself a reliable team player, Burke said. When she was working on the day shift and the department needed someone to work on records on the 4 p.m.-midnight shift, Hebert volunteered.

Even though she had no formal training, "she picked up on it really well," Burke said.

Hebert was captain of the High School soccer team, and still plays, he said.

Burke said he has known the Curley family for years. Curley comes from a law enforcement background; his grandfather was former Hampden County Sheriff John G. Curley.

"He was an excellent student in high school, and his education is tailored to criminal justice," Burke said. "He'd make a very good officer."

He noted Curley's leadership qualities, citing his serving as captain of the lacrosse and hockey teams in high school.

Chief Burke also requested that the Public Safety Commission appoint Christopher S. Bibeau as an alternate, should any of the three not complete academy training. The Public Safety Commission, however, decided against forwarding a recommendation for an alternate.

The other candidates interviewed were Jeffrey L. Hammond, Michael J. Kent, and Michael W. Matroni.
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