The Massachusetts State Police Drill and Ceremonial Unit traces its origins back to 1986 when a group of highly motivated and dedicated troopers banded together to represent the Department by marching in large scale parades. The unit developed into an eight to sixteen man rifle squad and marched in numerous parades, including the St. Patrick’s Day parade in NYC, the Boston Veterans Day parade and the Quincy Christmas Day parade.
This original ‘Drill Team’ was merged into the newly created Mobile Field Force (MFF) in November 1993. The Mobile Field Force was disbanded in October 1998, and the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) was created, along with the present day ‘Drill and Ceremonial Unit’. The team has participated in over eight hundred events since 1998.
Today’s Drill Team is made up of volunteers who officially represent the department at the direction of the Lieutenant Colonel commanding the Division of Field Services. They are called upon for funerals, parades, awards ceremonies and dedication events. This group of 25 troopers, under the Command of Sergeant Byron L. Rizos, has made arrests at parades, performed CPR, responded to motor vehicle crashes, assisted in childbirth, and provided photo opportunities for foreign heads of state.
Each year during national police week in May, members of the Drill and Ceremonial Unit attend the annual Law Enforcement Memorial Services held in Washington, D.C., and in 1991 attended the Law Enforcement Memorial Dedication Ceremony. In 1998 sixteen members traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend the wake for two United States Capitol Police Officers that were killed in the line of duty. These Drill Team members brought the US Capitol Rotunda to dead silence as they marched in step in the blistering heat, proudly representing the Massachusetts State Police.
These troopers, committed to maintaining the prestige of the oldest State Police agency in the nation, have done so at hundreds of events, in the same professional manner that the original Drill Team did back in the mid 1980’s.