NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- A man who worked in a middle school theater department and another who is a recent Penn State graduate were welcomed to the ranks of the New Canaan Police Department in a swearing-in ceremony Thursday.
Matthew T. Blank, 27, of Stamford and Sebastian Obando, 22, of Rye Brook, N.Y., were sworn in during a noontime ceremony.
"Matthew and Sebastian the badge you were just issued represents public trust," Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said in brief comments to new officers, family and other members of the New Canaan Police Department.
"The public willingly puts this work in your hand. They trust that you will take care of that in the proper manner," he said. "They do not want that responsibility themselves. They want to give it to you but they also want you to get it right. My charge to you is just that: to get it right."
They will begin their training at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden on April 1 as part of its 353rd training session.
Blank doesn't have any family members involved in police work, but he has been a member of the Army National Guard based in Groton as an intelligence analyst for the last three years and said policing was a natural fit. He also said his background in theater — he and his wife Lauren run the Saxe Middle School Dramatic Arts program — helped to prepare him for a police career.
"Because of theatre I speak eloquently, I can assess situations quickly and I can read body language," Blank said, noting that he is a familiar face in New Canaan due to his long involvement at the school.
"It's nice to give back to the community that has given so much to my family," he said. He and his wife have a year-old son, Jackson.
Blank graduated from Stamford High School and continued his education by attending the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in New York City as well as at Cochise College in Sierra Vista, Ariz., where he studied Intelligence Op. Studies. He accepted his position Jan. 20 with the department.
Similar to Blank, Obando doesn't have any family members in police work, but he said he has wanted to be a police officer for a long time and earned a bachelor's degree in criminology from Pennsylvania State University in December. He was also influenced by friends and coaches into becoming a police officer.
Obando, who accepted the job on Tuesday, said New Canaan Police Department has a great reputation.
"New Canaan is such a well-respected department," he said. "It's professional and they have a great track record over the years of community relations. I felt it was a great place to start a career."
The Port Chester, N.Y., native now lives in Rye Brook, N.Y.