Our Stories as State Troopers

We've worked with our colleagues to identify what their experiences have been like, what their stories are, and how they've found themselves in the work that they do.

Table of Contents

Our stories

Colonel Marian McGovern (2009-2012)

 

"When I started my career as a State Trooper in 1980, I was one of only a dozen women in the State Police. 30 years later, on December 9, 2009, I was sworn in as the first woman to serve as the Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police. Today, the department employs over 120 women. We understand the importance of having a diverse agency that reflects the population we proudly serve. That's why we've increased our recruitment efforts to meet our goal of making the Massachusetts State Police more racially and ethnically diverse than ever before."

 

Trooper Greg Valentine

Trooper Greg Valentine

 

"I took the 2009 entrance exam after working 17 years as a machine operator in Westfield, Massachusetts. At the age of 36, I graduated from the 81st Recruit Training Troop and was stationed at B-4 Cheshire and B-6 Northampton prior to applying for the K-9 Unit. After becoming a part of the K-9 Unit, I was assigned my partner, K-9 Kyber, and finished the mandatory NESPAC training for patrol and was tested by the Rhode Island State Police. From there, I finished additional mandatory NESPAC training for narcotics scent detection and was tested successfully by the New Hampshire State Police. Since, I've been assigned with the K-9 Unit for patrolling Interstate 495 to the New York state border.

I serve to protect the public from dangerous individuals, maintain peace, and to give back to the communities that I live in and around. I chose the Massachusetts State Police because I felt that it was the highest level of law enforcement in the state and is a well-respected organization. It's offered me the chance to make a positive difference in other's lives. I've been lucky enough to work a patrol K-9 and have found many lost and missing persons as well as criminals on the run. As a team, we've also been able to locate large amounts of illegal narcotics which were seized and destroyed."

 

Lieutenant Ann Marie Robertson

Lieutenant Ann Marie Robertson

 

"I graduated from the Massachusetts State Police Academy in 1999 as a member of the 74th Recruit Training Troop. Upon graduation, I was assigned to the Division of Field Services and worked at the State Police barracks in Grafton (now Milbury), Cheshire, and Concord. After several years in the Division of Field Services, I was transferred to the Division of Investigative Services and worked homicides as a member of the State Police Detective Unit in Bristol County. I was assigned to this Detective Unit for 15 years. In October 2019, the Unresolved Cases Unit was created, and I was appointed as the Unit Commander.     

In October of 2019, under the direction of Colonel Kerry Gilpin, the Massachusetts State Police created the Unresolved Cases Unit (UCU) to investigate unresolved homicides and other violent crimes and to seek justice for victims and their families. The UCU is a part of the MSP's Division of Investigative Services (DIS).  Troopers work in conjunction with local police departments and the District Attorney's offices within Bristol, Hampden, Plymouth, and Worcester Counties. The UCU identifies open cases in which a renewed investigative focus may prove helpful, and its goals are to bring offenders to justice and support victims and survivors. 

I chose to become a police officer because I wanted a rewarding career and an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on those in the community.  The Massachusetts State Police provides this opportunity.  We're an elite law enforcement agency that offers countless opportunities for personal and professional growth which allowed me to pursue my passion for investigating homicides and violent crimes.  Bringing justice to victims and their families provides me with a sense of fulfillment and purpose. If you are passionate about making a direct impact on improving people's lives and desire to create positive change,  the Massachusetts State Police is the perfect career opportunity for you."

 

Trooper John Pina Jr.

John Pina

 

"As a graduate of the 68th Recruit Training Troop on June 26, 1987, I started my career with the Massachusetts State Police in the Yarmouth barracks and worked in the Bourne and Middleborough barracks as a State Trooper patrolling the roads. The Massachusetts State Police has given me many opportunities, such as working on the 55 Team, serving both as a narcotics and detail officer, and serving in my current position with the Air Wing. With the Air Wing, I started off as a Tactical Flight Officer and progressed to an Aircraft Commander with a Commercial Pilot rating, also serving as the unit's Certified Flight Instructor and Safety Officer. 

From a young age, I always drew a line between right and wrong. I always liked helping people and law enforcement was a dream of mine. Doing right has always been a big part of my life. It's what I teach my kids. My father spoke very highly of the Massachusetts State Police growing up. I saw the respect and admiration that he had for them and, when I took the test in 1986, not only did I take it for myself but I took it for him. I wanted to make him so proud and what better way to accomplish that then to become a State Trooper. This job has afforded me a life that I only dreamed of and has allowed me to become the father and husband I always wanted to be. I've had the opportunity to work in places that I've never been to and also got to meet some of the biggest heroes around all of which were wearing the same uniform as me.

Early in my career, I learned one of the most challenging aspects of the job was the responsibility the job demands. When I first started, I'd conduct a motor vehicle stop but the nearest support could be 20-30 minutes away and many scenes would need to be booked and maintained at the same time. The Massachusetts State Police had so much respect but that was gained by the responsibility it entailed."

 

Trooper Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton

 

"For me, being part of the Air Wing has been a dream come true in many ways. In high school and college, I enjoyed being part of a team and learning new skills. I've always had an interest in both policing and aviation and now I get to combine those two interests. Every day I get to look forward to something a little bit different. Serving as a State Trooper is an honor.

Within the Air Wing, I'm one of 4 military trained pilots. You don't need any prior aviation knowledge to be selected, just a drive to learn. I serve as a Tactical Flight Officer and am responsible for all the law enforcement equipment onboard. Getting proficient at my job was challenging, but we take training serious, and all unit members must pass numerous evaluations and training scenarios to be considered a full qualified crew member.

Since we're not a large unit, we take pride in having a crew available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to respond for service. Whether it's a hiker lost in the woods or a large scale public safety crisis, our unit can help those on the ground solve problems through our surveillance and detection capabilities. It's a rewarding job that's inherently dangerous but extremely fulfilling when we help locate someone in distress or are able to assist troopers on the ground that risk their lives every day.

There's many challenges associated with being a State Trooper. The State Police Academy is modeled after the U.S. Marine Corps Basic Training and it's known to be extremely demanding. You have to want to be successful there! There's no better feeling than leaving a tough week of training and going home on Friday to see family and friends and get some rest. The challenges won't stop there though. State Troopers on the road ride alone. Though other State Troopers and local officers can and will assist you, it's important to have self-reliance and leadership skills. The Academy and field training does an excellent job preparing new State Troopers for the work they'll be doing. Getting through the Academy is just the beginning of your journey. This career is certainly for someone looking for a challenge."

 

Trooper Selina Ortega

Selina Ortega

 

"Just like any other adolescent, during my upbringing I can recall fantasizing about the different careers I wanted to pursue.  When my older brother, David, was hired by the Hartford Police Department, his testimonials with the academy, field training, and road experience enhanced my knowledge of the sacrifices made by those who take the oath to protect and serve.  The great impact made by law enforcement officers is the fulfillment I sought out. That's when I knew I wanted to work in a profession that had interactions with the community and provided a sense of security when needed.

Prior to my enrollment as a Student Officer in the Special State Police Officer (SSPO) Academy, I had very little knowledge of the roles and duties entailed by the members of the Massachusetts State Police. I chose to join because of the professionalism I observed by the Academy's staff, programs and social media outreach with the communities across the Commonwealth, opportunities for professional growth, the relationships with our local, state, and federal partners, and the growing diversity of the agency.  I entered the academy for the 84th Recruit Training Troop and graduated as a Trooper in June of 2019.

Opportunities within the Massachusetts State Police are endless. In my two short years of employment, I've served communities covered by two different barracks, co-lecturing with members of all ranks, and my current assignment serving as a liaison between municipal, college, and United States Army National Guard representatives and entry-level police officers."

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