Cambridge-based police academy training new crop of officers a new way of policing

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Police work has been closely looked at over the past year, including here in Massachusetts where the governor signed major reform into law. We tagged along for a day at the Cambridge-Northeastern Regional Police Academy, where training officers are learning ways to stay safe and new ways to try to alleviate the use of force.

Cambridge Student Officer Carlos Aquino was in the Cambridge Police Cadet program and is now in the city’s police academy. He said he is often asked why he is becoming a police officer now after everything that has happened since George Floyd’s murder in Minnesota.

“I think this is the best time to be a police officer just because if you want to see change, there’s no better way to do it than do it yourself,” Aquino said.

Cambridge Police Sgt. Thomas Glynn runs the academy.

“De-escalation is probably the biggest thing we are focused on,” he said.

Even before Floyd’s murder, Cambridge Police said they focused on tactics that eliminated the use of force.

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“Methods in how to bring what would be a volatile situation down to a more reasonable level,” Sgt. Glynn said.

Aquino said the cadet program is the only reason he is here, crediting it for helping him learn discipline.

“When I started off wanting to be a police officer, I was 342 lbs.,” he said.

The sergeant said the cadet program also helps them recruit local residents because the program is only for residents.

“They already have those avenues where they have friends and relationships established where someone that comes from outside the community wouldn’t,” Sgt. Glynn said.

Student officer Aquino graduates on June 4, and he plans to serve his community with one fundamental idea:

“Expect the unexpected but also treat people with respect, because that’s one of the most important things on the job,” Aquino said.