Changing of the guard

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Sawyer Sworn in as Police Chief

By Kyle Stucker

Hampton Union, November 4, 2014

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Police Chief Rich Sawyer
Rich Sawyer was officially sworn in as chief of the Hampton Police Department on Monday. The Hampton native has served with the department for nearly 20 years. [Rich Beauchesne photo]

HAMPTON — As the Seacoast area donned their scariest and quirkiest outfits Friday to commemorate Halloween, Jamie Sullivan celebrated his final day wearing one of the only uniforms he’s ever known.

The past few days have officially marked the beginning of a new era in Hampton, as Hampton Police Department personnel celebrated the retirement of Chief Sullivan on Friday and Deputy Chief Rich Sawyer’s first day as chief on Saturday.

Sawyer was officially sworn in during Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, while Sullivan was also sworn in Monday as Hampton’s new assistant town manager and human resources coordinator.

"(Sullivan has) obviously a deep connection with the people in this department," said Sawyer. "If there’s anything I carry forward from his years as chief, it is about the people."

Sullivan said Sawyer will be "great for the agency and the community" in his new role.

"There’s a lot of great talent and people here. I think we stand to move forward well," he said.

Past and present department members swapped stories and well-wishes about Sullivan on Friday during a short retirement party at the station.

Sawyer said the ceremony was "emotional" at times for Sullivan, who they surprised on the way out the door by presenting him with the flag that flew above the station. Sawyer said he plans to make the flag ceremony a "tradition" for the department’s retiring and departing officers because of the symbol it represents.

Sullivan, 51, retires after spending more than 30 years as a Hampton police officer. He first started as a part-time summer officer in 1984, eventually working his way through the ranks to become chief in 2006.

Sawyer has served with the Hampton Police Department for nearly 20 years since coming in as a patrol officer in March 1995. The honor of becoming the town’s 24th chief is "special" to Sawyer because he’s a Hampton native and a Winnacunnet High School graduate.

"I'm thrilled," said Sawyer. "How many people get the opportunity to lead the police department in their hometown? This is where I'm from, and I get to be the chief of police. That's just an incredible thing not many people get to experience."

Hampton’s new deputy police chief hasn’t officially been selected, although Sawyer said that process is moving along and should be completed shortly.

Sawyer is filling the position from within the department, which will lead to a chain of promotions as well as the hiring of a new full-time officer.

Sullivan has been serving as acting town manager for a couple of weeks because Fred Welch is recovering from hip surgery. Sullivan will continue to act in that capacity for the next few weeks as Welch continues his recovery.

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