You may have noticed a new police officer patrolling the streets of Westwood recently.
His name is Sean Pillai, and he’s been with the department for 2.5 weeks now after going through the Civil Service Exam process and completing the Lowell Police Academy.
“It’s different learning in a classroom than riding with someone who’s been doing it for 25 years,” Pillai said of his first two weeks on the job. “I thought it wasn’t going to be as busy, but it’s been really busy.”
In order to become a police officer, Pillai had to undergo a number of background checks and assessments, including criminal background, financial background, psychological testing, a medical assessment and a physical assessment test.
He then attended the Lowell Police Academy, which is taught by the Lowell and Cambridge Police Departments at Middlesex Community College. There he learns about things in a variety of subjects, from criminal procedure to firearms training. This academy also does a number of role playing games in which they put the attendees in situations and they have to show they know what they are supposed to do, something that Westwood Police Sergeant Paul Sicard thinks is a great way to teach them about some of the things they’ll face while on the job.
“The criminal procedure and law is very complicated,” said Pillai, a Boston University graduate. “They did a great job of making sure we understood it before we left.”
Pillai will now spend his first 10 weeks in Westwood in field training. He’ll work different shifts and with different officers so he can get some experience handling different situations as every time of day is different and each officer has different specialties or strengths and weaknesses.
“He just needs to get more of certain types of calls,” said Sicard, who trained Pillai his first two weeks on the job. “Working the different shifts is key, as there are different types of crime.”
Another thing Pillai thinks can help him as a police officer is his experience in the Army. The seven-year veteran said there are some parallels between being an infantryman and a police officer.
“There’s a lot of practical sense in the military,” he said. “If a guy looks suspicious [he probably is]. Putting on a uniform is very easy for me. In the Army you focus in, but as a police officer you talk more with the public.”
Which brings it back to why he decided to become a police officer in the first place: the public.
“I like to be active and on my feet,” Pillai said, “and I really enjoy helping.”