State and local officials, past and present police department personnel, friends, family and community members joined together to witness the promotion and swearing in of a new commander and three sergeants to the Madison Police Department.
"Our local police officers have a critical job. You are charged with protecting the safety and well bring of those residing, visiting and working in our communities. It is a position of authority and a position of trust," said Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, who had the honor of swearing in each honoree.
"It's been a long road for this department and I'm proud to stand here and join in recognizing how far you've come and how seriously you've taken the very real task of restoring the public's trust."
Police Commissioner Eric Thornburg, who presided over the ceremony, said, "The officers here represent really what is best about first responders and that's this very powerful commitment to others."
Commander John Rich joins the department as a 24 year veteran of the Connecticut State Police. His most recent assignment was as the commanding officer of the internal affairs division of the state police. He previously served as the chief law enforcement official in Ledyard, while he was the resident state trooper for that town.
"The word sergeant comes from a Latin word meaning 'one who serves,'" said Thornburg, prior to introducing the new sergeants. "I think that's just spot on perfect for these individuals here and it says it all."
Sergeant Kimberly Lauria, the first female officer to ever receive the rank of sergeant in the Madison Police Department, has been with the department since 2005 and is trained in certified child passenger safety technician, is a community resource officer and the only certified taser instructor in the department. Prior to that she served three years in the United States Air Force.
How does it feel to receive this honor? "Surreal," said Lauria. "I am happy, but at the same time, it still hasn't really hit me." She gave a great deal of credit to her family for their support. "This promotion is as much for my family as it is for me."
Sergeant Richard Perron joined the department after 22 years with the Connecticut State Police in narcotics enforcement, undercover work and as part of a federal task force. He is a state certified investigator and certified hostage negotiator and homicide investigator. He had his narcotic canine companion, Gwen, by his side as he was sworn in.
Sergeant William Roy joined the department in 2006 and recently has been the officer in charge in a middle management role of the midnight patrol shift and overseeing the daily patrol functions as the shift supervisor. He previously was a detective in the criminal investigation division of the department for three years. He is currently a member of the Shoreline Regional Emergency SWAT Team and serves as the second in command for Madison's unit.
In welcoming Race and congratulating the three sergeants McPherson addressed the sergeants directly.
"You all have been here when it was in the era of good troops poorly led. You are all good troops, have been good troops and a number of the other police officers on this force fall into that category," said McPherson. "Thank you for that effort you are now moving forward into the good leadership role so the ball is going to be in your court to continue the great efforts and the great strides that have been made to move this great department forward."
Police Chief Jack Drumm addressed his newly promoted staff members at the conclusion of the ceremony. "I'm happy to say...we are well on our way to becoming great," he said. "We have trust. We have gained back the trust of the community and shown them that the Madison Police Department is one of the better, if not the best police department presently in the State of Connecticut."