A week after graduating from the Boston Police Academy, Sheanna Isabel and Marc Baldner, Stoughton’s two newest Police Officers, were sworn in at a ceremony at during Tuesday evening’s Board of Selectmen meeting.
Town Clerk Cheryl Mooney administered the oath for both officers.
Isabel and Baldner are the first two officers has hired since he was sworn in as Stoughton’s Police Chief in April of 2010.
“I am very excited to have them here…everyone in the police department is excited,” Shastany told the selectmen. “I offer you two of the best officers from the Boston Police Academy.”
The hiring process took about a year. The new officers had to fill out a 50-page application form, had multiple interviews, underwent stringent background checks, and had psychological and physical training. For the last six months they were training at the Boston Police Academy.
In his tenure with the , Executive Officer Robert Devine said he had not seen more applicants bypassed for these positions than during this search process.
“We want the best,” Shastany said. “One bad hire can create so much of an issue.”
The chief said top new officers are out there. “It’s up to us to find them,” he said. And, in Isabel and Baldner, Shastany believes he has found the “best and brightest.”
“I’m confident we made the right choice,” Devine added.
Isabel and Baldner come to the force with extensive experience in other related fields. Isabel served in a medical unit with the Army Reserves for nine-and-a-half years. Most recently she worked in district loss prevention for the TJX Companies (Marshalls).
Baldner worked for five years as a part-time police officer in East Bridgewater and spent 20-years working with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department.
Both said how they communicated with others at their previous professions—tone of voice, body language, etc.— will help them as Stoughton Police Officers.
The importance of communication and the ability to deescalate a situation with words rather than with force is something Shastany has emphasized in previous interviews.
While Isabel and Baldner were training at the Boston Police Academy, both had mentors from the SPD to give them a liason within the department during their training. Donna McNamara mentored Isabel, while John Hartford mentored Baldner.
Even though their training at the Boston Police Academy has concluded, both officers will have field training in Stoughton for the next 10 weeks, where they will be partnered with a veteran officer.
Yet, Shastany said their training will be a “life-long” process, as it is with any officer.
Isabel said she is looking forward to serving as a Stoughton Police Officer and is looking forward to working under Shastany.
“I’m incredibly excited,” she said. “I’ve heard such positive feedback from friends in the community [about the department and the chief].”
Baldner said he always wanted to be a police officer. Now he gets his chance on a full-time basis.
“I’m very excited about it,” he said. “I look forward to serving the people of Stoughton.”
Shastany said the department was in the process of interviewing a finalist for one more opening.
“The town needs to know we’re never going to go backward. We’re looking for excellence,” Shastany said. “These folks [Isabel and Baldner] are impeccable.”