PEPPERELL -- Officers Ryan Fogarty and Jeremiah "Jay" Friend, two of the newest additions to the Pepperell Police Department, were born and raised eager to serve in their community.

Fogarty was appointed last November and Friend this past January to full-time positions in the department, the culmination of a long line of schooling, training and experience gathering. After graduating from North Middlesex Regional High School in 2005, Fogarty went onto study criminal justice and sociology at UMass Amherst.

"I always thought about becoming a cop as a kid. It is something I've always wanted to be growing up," Fogarty said.

When he was younger, Friend says he used to work at C & S Pizza on Main Street.

"Officers used to come in to the restaurant and I got to know them. I liked and respected them," Friend said.

Beginning in 2008, Fogarty started commuting from Amherst to Pepperell two or three times a month to serve as an auxiliary officer. During that time, Friend, who graduated from NMRHS in 2003, was also on the auxiliary force attending Merrimack Community College and UMass Lowell.

"That was a good way to propel into a career field that is so hard to get into. It seems like everyone wants to be a police officer, but doing volunteer work shows dedication and it pays off," said Friend.

As auxiliary police, officers-in-training ride as passengers in cruisers, serving as cover officers and, as Fogarty says, "learn anything, anyway we can." Friend left the auxiliaries shortly after for a job as a Fitchburg State College campus officer.

At FSC Friend says he learned the basics of the police computer system, a similar program he uses now as a Pepperell officer. Fogarty learned at his first full time public safety job as a dispatcher for Pepperell. Fielding emergency phone calls, he says, helped tremendously to learn the roads, computer systems and radio etiquette.

Friend joined the reserve force in 2010 and Fogarty followed shortly thereafter.

"As a reserve officer, full-timers begin to show you what to do. It's a much more intensive training process," Fogarty said.

Both officers paid their own way through the police academy, being sponsored by Chief David Scott. That was a Monday-through-Friday program that Fogarty likened to "taking college classes and playing a varsity sport."

Fogarty was appointed in a full capacity selectmen's meeting, at which Scott also promoted Lt. Todd Blain and Sgts. Nick Parker and Bill Greathead. After an officer resignation, Friend was appointed in late January. Scott was able to bolster his command structure and add leadership to every shift when the promotions went into effect this year. The department strength remains at 16, still down two officers from the force prior to the 2009 budget cuts, he said.

"It's nice having young guys. A little excitement and youthful energy in the fresh faces is good for the department," Scott said of his new officers.

The night he got appointed, Friend said he was excited and anxious.

"It's a good feeling, but the appointment is pending physical and psychological assessment. I was thankful to get it but I wanted to get the ball rolling -- you are hoping you are doing stuff right," he said.

Over the course of his first few weeks, Friend has been riding with a field officer, responding to calls and learning the correct way to handle calls. Fogarty has completed his field training and is liking the position.

"It's hard to get used to the rotating schedule -- four days in a row, two days off," he said. "But I like that nothing is ever the same the same on the job. There is an array of things can come up every day."

Friend said finally joining the department was a good feeling because he knows a lot of the guys on the department and in the community.

"It's nice to serve a town you grew up in. You know people, they trust you and they don't see a badge; sometimes you want them to see a friend or neighbor," he said.

Familiarity helps Fogarty as well, who said he grew up with and went to school with some of the citizens of Pepperell. Both officers say they plan to stay in Pepperell for as long as they can.

"To a certain degree, crime happens everywhere, but we are blessed to not live in a place where it is a serious problem," Fogarty said.