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15 Danvers Police, Firefighters Old and New Sworn in to Office

Six police officers and two firefighters received their promotions while five new members of the force and two new firefighters were sworn in to duty on Thursday.

New police sergeants Peter Shabowich, Olivia Silva and Phil Tansey take the oath of office during a ceremony at Danvers High on Thursday. Credit: John Castelluccio
New police sergeants Peter Shabowich, Olivia Silva and Phil Tansey take the oath of office during a ceremony at Danvers High on Thursday. Credit: John Castelluccio
Not only did eight seasoned veterans formally receive their promotions Thursday night, seven fresh recruits were also appointed police officers and firefighters in Danvers.

Robert Bettencourt, William Carleton and James Lovell were all sworn in as the police department's new lieutenants while Peter Shabowich, Olivia Silva and Phil Tansey fill three sergeant positions.

Police Chief Neil Ouellette had high praise for all six veteran officers, commending them on their professionalism, dedication, skill-sets, problem-solving abilities and commitment to the community.

Carleton has been in public safety work the longest  -- since 1978, first at the former Hunt Hospital before his appointment to the police department in 1984.

Bettencourt first started on the Peabody force in 1986 and transferred to Danvers in 1994 and Lovell was appointed in 1998. Silva actually spent many years in Danvers as a dispatcher starting in 1987, before joining the Peabody force as an officer for a few years. She returned to Danvers in 2000.

Shabowich, who had a career in finance and was a vice president at Danversbank, first joined the Danvers police in 1990. Tansey also took a circuitous route and demotions in rank to finally end up in Danvers in 2006.

He started with the Essex County Sheriff's Office, worked his way up to sergeant and then became a police officer in Lynn. He left the Lynn force in 2006 as a lieutenant to work in Danvers as a patrol officer. Ouellette said Tansey fit right in though and his prior experience never became a point of contention.  

Ouellette also introduced five brand new members of the police department Thursday who had joined the force over the past year and would finally take the oath of office.

Those officers were Michael Balsley, Christopher Gaffney, Justin Jones, Michael Molk and Stephanie Wennerberg, and they're all from Danvers.

"I can tell you I'm so happy with the group of people that we have. They're good people, they come from good families, we watched them grow up here and they're really done a remarkable job so far in the department," Ouellette said.

Ouellette said Balsley, who was a reserve officer in Newbury and Topsfield and then appointed to the Topsfield force in 2011 before his recent transfer to Danvers, first approached him seven years ago.

"He came in my office, sat down and said: 'I want to be a Danvers police officer, what can I do to better my chances?' So he went out and did [those things]," Ouellette recalled Thursday.

He said Jones was also eager to become a Danvers police officer and was actually deferred twice from attending the academy because classes filled up with full-time candidates. He then got in, still on his own time, and completed his training after he was finally hired as an officer in Danvers.

Gaffney served in the U.S. Coast Guard after college and then came onto the force, Molk comes from a family of police officers and Wennerberg is the newest addition to the police force, graduating from the academy in August.

On the fire department's side, Union president Brian Barry was promoted to Lieutenant while Kenneth Reardon received a captaincy. Barry was first appointed in 1993 while Reardon was appointed in 1998.

Fire Chief Kevin Farrell credited Barry with playing a key role in many important decisions for the department over the years and noted Reardon also represents Danvers on the Essex County Technical Rescue Team. He said Reardon helped rescue a construction worker from a trench collapse in Ipswich two months ago.

Another reason you might recognize the name is because of Ken's Oil & Burner Service in Danvers -- that's Reardon's father. The younger Reardon worked there as well for several years.

Two new firefighters also joined the ranks Thursday: John Mendalka and Stephen Deroche. Deroche actually joins his father Ed on the department. The elder Deroche was appointed in 2000.

Mendalka and Deroche share a lot of similarities. They were both hired the same day this past August, they were both captains of the Danvers High hockey team and they both joined the U.S. Air Force -- Deroche as a firefighter and EMT and Mendalka as a security officer (although he had hoped to be a firefighter).

Mendalka did serve as a call firefighter with Middleton for two years before enlisting in the Air Force in 2008 and served three tours, two of which were in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Farrell noted that while in the service, Deroche's firefighting team entered a Firefighter Combat Challenge in 2013 and finished 16th overall.

Farrell says he's still down two firefighters from budget cuts several years ago while Ouellette said there's vacancies for another captain, two sergeants and two more patrol officers -- he hopes to have five new candidates ready in the fall.
Pete January 10, 2014 at 07:03 AM
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!!! As a kid I grew-up around the Danvers Police and this number of promotions and new hires are a generational change and another step forward in a Police Department the size of Danvers. This is not a criticism at all but what is amazing is promotions with people at or over 30 years of service, that time when most cops are getting ready to retire. I remember Billy Carleton was a Special Police Officer for the Hunt Hospital back in 1978, the same year I left Danvers and I went to school with Pete Shabowich's brother Eddie; may he Rest in Peace. AGAIN, CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!!!

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