WOONSOCKET – Four new recruits were sworn in as probationary patrol officers by the Woonsocket Police Department on Friday.
Officers Mark Castiglione, Taylor-Rae Monfils, Manuel Salema and Craig Thompson will immediately be assigned to the field training program, which lasts about 14 weeks, according to Police Chief Thomas Carey.
The officers arrive at a time when additional manpower at the department is sorely needed, according to Carey. Personnel has been one of the casualties of oversight by the deficit-fighting Budget Commission, which has refused to grant the chief permission to fill as many positions as he’d like.
“I’m very pleased to have these new officers on board, but the police department would like to be working with a full staffing complement.”
The department has traditionally been allowed to fill as many as 101 positions for uniformed officers, but it is currently operating with 88, said Carey.
The new recruits are graduates of the 120th class of the Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy. The school, which operates out of the Lincoln campus of the Community College of Rhode Island, held commencement exercises hours before they were sworn in at the roll call room of the Clinton Street police headquarters as family members and friends looked on.
Officer Castiglione is the son of a Milford, Mass., policeman. He attended Curry College, Worcester State University and he’s a member of the Air Force Reserves.
Officer Monfils gained her first experience in law enforcement as a volunteer for the Smithfield Police Department. She is currently studying sociology at the University of Rhode Island. She is the recipient of the Presidential Education Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement and ranked second in the police academy’s graduating class. She also won the school’s highway safety award.
“Officer Salema has had a desire to be a police officer since elementary school,” police said in a statement. He’s an Army veteran and is a member of the U.S. Army Reserves. He was an all-state wrestler in high school.
For officer Thompson, becoming a police officer also marks the achievement of a longtime goal. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminology and law from Suffolk University. He also has an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Dean College in Franklin. He previously worked as a part-time policeman in Millis, Mass.
Carey said he asked the Budget Commission for permission to enroll several more recruits in the next session of the academy, for which orientation has already begun. He was not allowed to do so, however.