Three new officers were awarded their shields Wednesday and will begin their careers as members of the .
“Obtaining a shield and becoming a police officer today is far from an easy task,” Waterford Police Chief Murray Pendleton said. “It takes a great deal of time and effort. From my perspective and from your perspective, I know this is a special day. And I encourage you to enjoy the moment."
Two men, 24-year-old Eric Fredricks and 26-year-old Richard Avdevich, and one woman, 22-year-old Oxana Tidd, all were awarded their badges. The three completed 24 weeks in the police academy and now will begin teaming with officers on two-week rotations for their field training.
"When you come away with three fine young applicants like these three, that not only have been interested in law enforcement since day one, but have parents involved in law enforcement, trust me, that is a win-win,” Pendleton said. “Because there is not only a compassion for one side of the profession there is also help and somebody definitely to talk to and feel comfortable with."
The police officers replace two officers who retired and a third who resigned.
Avdevich’s father was a police officer in Norwich (who once had a wrestling match with Pendleton), and his mother is retired from the University of Connecticut's police department. He was born and raised in Franklin, graduated from Norwich Free Academy and then graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in criminology.
Avdevich is a member of the American Ambulance Association. His mother pinned the Waterford Police Department’s shield to his uniform.
"I always admired my parents' line of work, and I always wanted to follow in their footsteps,” Avdevich said. “It has been a long 24 weeks, but I'm ready to start my new career and join my fellow brother and sister officers and serve the town of Waterford.”
Tidd was born in Tampa, Florida to a military home and spent three years living in Puerto Rico. Her father was in the Navy, and both of her parents worked in law enforcement.
Eventually, she moved to Waterford, and graduated from Waterford High School. While there, she interned at the Waterford Police Department and worked with Youth Office Nicole VanOverloop.
"I love that stuff," Pendleton said. "We believe strongly in the intern program, reaching out and try to latch out to young people as soon as we can. And apparently, it was worth it."
Tidd went on to earn a degree in criminology at Three Rivers Community College and has been working as a dispatcher for the Navy in Groton. She said she was nervous but excited to start the job.
“I’m a little apprehensive but also excited,” she said. “It is what we’ve been working toward for so long.”
Fredricks was born in New York and graduated from the University of Albany with a degree in sociology and a minor in criminal justice. He was on the wrestling team throughout high school and college.
After college, he got his private investigator license and his security license. His last job was working as a loss prevention agent for .
"We are all very excited,” Fredricks said. “We are all ready to get on the road."