“Your lives are about to change dramatically,” said Chief David Mara as he welcomed 14 new police officers to the force on July 7. They were seated, front and center, in the Grand Ballroom at the Radisson Hotel, which was nearly filled with family, friends and well-wishers.
Historically, this is the largest incoming class of officers for the city of Manchester in recent history, according to Sgt. Brian O’Keefe.
Mara advised the new recruits that with a Manchester Police badge comes great responsibility. Out of 200 applicants, they were the only ones that measured up, Mara told them.
They are now role models and ambassadors of the Police Department.
“As a Manchester Police Officer you will have the opportunity to experience things many people never experience in their entire lives,” Mara said.
“You will learn things are not as black-and-white as they once seemed. You realize there are not only good and bad people, but good people who make mistakes,” Mara said.
Now that they have passed a battery of physical and psychological tests – and their family members, spouses, partners – and yes, even ex-romantic partners – have been interviewed, the new officers are ready for in-house training at Manchester Police headquarters before heading to the Police Cadet Training Academy in Concord for the remainder of their professional training.
Among the 14 new officers, there are four women – which increases the number of female officers on the force to more than 25.
Mara pointed out that including these 14 officers, Manchester’s total number of uniformed officers will up to 225, still four short from 229, which is the number designated for the city to be operating at capacity.
“We already know some more people are going to retire, but thanks to the Mayor and Board of Alderman we will have the opportunity to hire some more officers in the near future and so that’s what we’re going to do – to make sure we’re getting ahead of the game instead of behind,” Mara said.
No, retention of officers is not an issue for Manchester, Mara said.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Mara said. “When officers leave here the vast majority leave after 20 years of service, unless they have an opportunity elsewhere.”
As for the four female recruits, Mara said he looks at them simply as qualified police officers – although when asked if it was time to change the name of the auxiliary group, currently known as Police Officers Wives, to Police Officers Spouses, Mara chuckled.
“Maybe it’ll be Police Partners. That’s a great idea,” Mara said.
Also of note, Mara’s son, Matthew Mara, 22, was sworn in and received his badge, which was pinned on his suit by his father.
“This is a dream come true for him. This is what he’s always wanted to do,” Mara said.
Manchester’s new officers:
Angeline Alexakos, 34, grew up in Bedford, NH, and is a graduate of Manchester High School West – class of 1998. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work with a minor in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire, Durham, in 2002, and a Master of Education in Counseling, also from UNH, in 2003. Officer Alexakos has most recently been employed as Director of Operations & Client Experience at Linkage, Inc. in Burlington, MA. She is a second generation Manchester police officer – her father is retired Lt. Philip Alexakos, who served with the police department for 23 years. He has served since 2002 as a part-time reserve officer.
Alexander R. April, 23, grew up in Amherst, NH, and is a graduate of Souhegan High School, class of 2009. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Justice Studies from the University of New Hampshire – Durham, NH, in 2013. Officer April has most recently been employed as a Youth Counselor at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester.
Lisa S. Callahan, 22, grew up in Nashua, NH, and is a graduate of Nashua High School South – class of 2010. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Justice Studies, with a minor in Forensic Science from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, NH, in 2014. Officer Callahan interned with MPD during the spring semester of her junior year in college. She has worked as a lifeguard with the Lowell, Mass., Parks and Recreation Department and the Nashua YMCA. She has most recently been employed by the Texas Roadhouse in Newington, NH, and as a substitute teacher for the Nashua School District.
Kyle R. Daly, 27, has lived more of his life in Auburn, Mass., and is a graduate of St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Mass. – class of 2006. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with a minor in Sports Management, from the Becker College in Worcester, Mass., in 2013. Officer Daly was most recently employed as an armed security officer with Metro Crime Prevention in Worcester, Mass.
Michael A. DeJoy, 22, is from Lynn, Mass., and is a graduate of Lynn English High School – class of 2010. He is currently studying toward a major in Criminal Justice at Salem State University, Mass., and will earn a Bachelor’s degree in the fall of 2014. Officer Daly has recently been employed as a security officer for the North Shore Medical Center in Lynn, Mass.
Meghan L. Grant, 23, was born in Boston and has most recently residied in Melrose, Mass. She is a graduate of Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Mass., class of 2009. Officer Grant earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations, with minors in Russian Studies and Military Science, from St. Anselm College in 2013. She is also a graduate of the U.S. Army ROTC – University of New Hampshire, Durham. She currently serves as a 2nd Lt. Treatment Platoon Leader with the Vermont National Guard stationed out of Winooski, VT. Officer Grant comes from a family with a law enforcement and military background. Her father is a former Somerville, Mass., police officer; one brother is a 14-year veteran police officer with the Newton, Mass., police department; and another brother is in military service with the U.S. Army.
Cody D. Healy, 24, grew up in Bedford and is a graduate of Manchester West High School, class of 2009. He earned an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Hesser College, in Manchester, in 2011. Officer Healy has most recently been employed as a corrections officer with the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections, and as a sales representative for Planet Fitness.
David S. Labbe, 22, is a lifelong resident of Manchester and graduate of Trinity High School, class of 2010. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in the dual majors of Criminal Justice and Mandarin Chinese from Norwich University, in Northfield, VT, in 2014. During the summer of 2013, Officer Labbe was employed as a security officer at Canobie Lake Park in Salem, and interned with the U.S. Marshals Service in Concord, NH.
Matthew C. Mara, 22, is a lifelong resident of Bedford, NH, and is a graduate of Bedford High School, class of 2010. He earned an Associate’s degree in Community Leadership from the University of New Hampshire in 2012 and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from the same institution, in 2014. Officer Mara interned with MPD during his junior year in college. He has most recently been employed as a part-time officer with the Hampton Police Department. He is the second generation of the Mara family to serve as a Manchester police officer. He follows in the footsteps of his father, Chief David Mara, who will complete 28 years of service with MPD in September.
Michael J. McGee, 22, is a lifelong resident of Worcester, Mass., and is a graduate of St. Peter Marion Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School, class of 2010. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, with a minor in philosophy from St. Anselm College in Manchester, in 2014. While attending college, Officer McGee had the opportunity to intern with the Worcester Police Department, where his father is a 27-year veteran police officer.
Shaun M. McKennedy, 22, grew up in Lowell, Mass., and is a graduate of Lowell High School, class of 2009. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice, with a minor in Victimology from Endicott College, in Beverly, Mass. in 2013. During college, Officer McKennedy interned with the Massachusetts State Police and with the Middlesex Sheriffs Department. He has most recently been employed as a private investigator with the DataQuest LTD in Canton, Mass.
James M. Pittman III, 21, grew up in Auburn, Mass., and is a graduate of Auburn High School, class of 2010. He earned an Associate of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester, Mass., in 2012, and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Worcester State University in 2014. He has most recently been employed as a sales associate at Home Depot in Auburn, Mass.
Max E. Rahill, 23, resides in Manchester and is a graduate of Trinity High School in Manchester, class of 2009. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice, with minors in political science and philosophy from the Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT., in 2013. During college, Officer Rahill interned with the Young in Prison program in Cape Town, South Africa, and with the Connecticut State Police. He has most recently been employed with the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Department as a court officer assigned to the Manchester District Court.
Sarah N. Thibault, 25, is a lifelong resident of Manchester and earned an Associate in Science degree in Criminal Justice from NH Technical Institute in Concord in 2010. Officer Thibault has most recently been employed with the Transportation Security Administration as a Transportation Security Officer at the Manchester/Boston Regional Airport.