2001 Chief Bobby N. Stewart retires having served the department for thirty years, the past twenty-one and a half years as chief. Deputy Chief Bernard Nally is promoted to chief and Lt. Robert Spencer is promoted to deputy chief. Wilmington continues it’s long standing membership in the NEMLEC community as the TPF becomes the Regional Response Team (RRT), a name which better describes the unit’s multi-faceted duties and capabilities.
2004 Chief Bernard Nally retires after 42 years of dedicated service. Deputy Chief Robert Spencer is promoted to Chief of Police.
2005 Chief Spencer retires and Chief Michael Begonis takes command of the Wilmington Police Department.
2006 Due to the transitions occurring with the retirement of Chief Robert Spencer in 2005, Robert Richter was promoted to Deputy Chief and he assumed his role as the department’s Executive Officer. Also assuming new roles were Joseph Desmond, promoted to Operations Lieutenant and Brian Pupa, promoted to Patrol Sergeant. The K9 Team of Officer Eric Palmer and Kimo continued to excel in their job, underscored by the many regional and national awards and accolades they continue to receive. Also established this year was a full-time Training Division staffed by Sergeant Scott Sencabaugh and Officer Steve LaRivee.
2007 A focus on Homeland Security saw new and renewed partnerships with many state and federal law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, DEA and ATF. Increased reliance and need for criminal intelligence saw a detective from the department assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the Boston/Lowell FBI office. Internally, the department introduced a new Information Management System and upgraded the Public Safety Dispatch Center’s 9-1-1 System.
2008 The department began with the installation of a new radio system. The systems will improve communications and allow for better compliance with Federal communication regulations.
2009 The department continued on track towards state certification and set a goal to become an accredited police agency in 2010. Our former Detective Bureau offices located in the Swain School became history when the building was demolished. Built as a high school in 1914 the building reverted to a grammar school in 1950. In the 1990s the then vacant building’s top floor was converted into the Criminal Bureau offices. When the Wilmington Memorial Public Safety Building was opened in 2001 the detectives and specialists moved out. Finally, we sadly mourned the passing of three former department members, Sergeant James Rooney, Detective Michael Celeta and Officer (later Public Safety Dispatcher) George O’Connell.
2010 The department achieved state certification in May and continued towards state accreditation during the remainder of the year. The Traffic & Safety Division was awarded a Gold Medal in the statewide Law Enforcement Challenge for their efforts in traffic and pedestrian safety. The competition saw only six gold medals awarded across the state. The department was saddened again by the passing of longtime former members Sergeant David McCue Sr., Officer Robert Vassallo and Special Officer Joseph Balestrieri.
2011 The department achieved state accreditation from the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission and was also awarded an additional Gold Award in the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Challenge. Long serving officers Francis Hancock and Jon Shepard retired and we saw the active duty passing of Officer Shawn Lee. Officer Lee, a U.S. Air Force Veteran and department FTO, Honor Guard member and member of the NEMLEC Regional Response Team succumbed after a long battle with leukemia.
2012 This year saw the retirement of long-time officers Detective Lieutenant J. Christopher Neville who had served since 1978 and Detective Thomas Miller who had served since 1985. To fill the gaps left by recent departures, the department hired and trained at one time its largest group of officers ever. Five officers, Kevin Cavanaugh, Rafael Cruz, Daniel Furbush, Michael Johnson and Julio Quiles simultaneously attended the Lowell Police Academy and later entered into the Field Training program together upon their graduation. Also, K9 Ridic assumed a new partnership with Officer Eric Palmer as K9 Kimo began to enjoy his recent retirement.
2013 The major story of the year saw the Wilmington Police Department directly involved in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombings. Many officers responded to Watertown to assist in the hunt for the bombers. Sadly we also saw the loss of one of Wilmington’s residents in the slaying of MIT Police Officer Sean Collier. In the aftermath of his Line of Duty death; Wilmington Police took part in his candlelight vigil on the Town Common, escorted his family’s motorcade at his wake and funeral services and coordinated the staging area for his memorial service. Thousands of police officers from across the United States and Canada descended upon Wilmington to be staged and later bussed to MIT in Cambridge to pay their respects. We also wished longtime patrolman Officer Stephen Mauriello well in his retirement after thirty years of dedicated service.
2014 The department was a recipient of a $100,000 grant from the Woburn based Cummings Foundation as part of their $100K For 100 program. The monies will be put towards equipment needs, safety initiatives, and community partnership building activities. We also held our first National Night Out event bringing the community and the police department together in a collaborative effort in building and maintaining beneficial relationships.
2015 Long time police officers James White and Chip Bruce, both former D.A.R.E. officers both retired this year. Detective James White began his career in 1984 as a patrol officer and later worked as a traffic officer, D.A.R.E. officer, detective and court prosecutor. Officer Chip Bruce started with the police department in 1989 and later served as D.A.R.E. officer and as the department’s first School Resource Officer.
2016 Officer Eric Palmer and K9 Ridic retired. Officer Palmer accepted a job in the private sector and with his departure the department lost valuable assets in both himself and his K9 partner Ridic. A state of the art outdoor firing range was opened in a secluded section of town owned land in North Wilmington. The firing range allows officers to be trained in-house rather than traveling great distances to privately owned ranges and it is available for departmental use year round.
2017 In an effort to fill recent departures, another large group of officers were simultaneously hired. Officers Shane Foley, Emily Stebbins and Michael Wilson were trained and graduated from the Lowell Police Academy in November of this year while Officer Daryl Ceruolo is expected to graduate from the Reading Police Academy in April of 2018. In an effort to better handle increased calls related to substance abuse and mental illness we welcomed Samantha Reif as our Substance Abuse Program Coordinator. Samantha Reif is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and will work closely with police officers and other community resources in this area of need. We also continued with our fourth National Night Out celebration and in an extra effort to reach out to the community we held a Citizens Police Academy. Citizen attendees were given training in criminal law, traffic law, investigations, defensive tactics and substance abuse issues amongst other topics. Finally, we wished Sergeant David Axelrod well as he retired after thirty years of faithful service.