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AYER — In the briefing room at Ayer Police headquarters last Thursday night, a crowd of loved ones and friends watched as Police Chief William Murray officially promoted detective-turned-lieutenant Brian Gill.

Town Clerk Ann Callahan administered the oath of office before the room erupted into applause.

Murray called the promotion a “victory for Brian and the department overall.”

Murray has consistently supervised Gill over the years. When Gill was a patrolman, Murray was his sergeant. When Gill was a detective, Murray was his supervisor. And now, Murray is tapping Gill to be his lieutenant and number two man. The promotion straight to lieutenant means Gill is jumping over the rank of sergeant.

“We’ve been one short,” said Murray of his new administration after the 2008 departure of prior Chief Richard Rizzo.

Murray said the department will be stronger now “with him by my side.”

“Actually, Chief Rizzo and I saw a huge change in Brian. We saw him grow in the role,” said Murray.

“We came to the realization that he was an intelligent, great detective who knew the laws and procedures,” said Murray, “I have a lot of trust in his abilities.”

Gill’s wife, Monica, pinned his new gold badge onto his uniform. Gill’s parents, Donna and Joseph Gill of Tewksbury, and his parents-in-law, Phine and Donald Wallace of Ayer, were on hand along with Gill’s two sons, Matthew, 4, and Ryan, 2.

Gill has served the Ayer Police Department for more than 13 years. He started in the department as an intern while completing his sociology degree at Fitchburg State College. Upon graduation, he served simultaneously as a reserve police officer and dispatcher for the department. In 1995, Gill became a full-time officer, then a detective in 2001.

“I really liked being a detective … liked catching the bad guys,” said Gill, adding he’ll miss “solving the bigger cases.”

Until his replacement is hired in the criminal investigation bureau, Gill will still serve partly in that capacity and will be involved in selecting his ultimate replacement via a recommendation to Murray.

Gill had worn Patrolman Badge #1, which has come to represent the emblem worn by the most senior patrolman. And so, immediately following his promotion ceremony, Gill presented Badge #1 to the new most-senior patrolman Matthew Callahan.

Pinning the badge onto Callahan’s chest was his mother, Town Clerk Ann Callahan, who was back in action to decorate her son immediately after she administered the oath of office for Gill’s swearing-in ceremony. Patrolman Callahan was sworn in by his mother in her official capacity both in 1994 when he took the oath as a reserve officer and again in 2000 when he was sworn in as a full-time member of the Ayer police force. The Leominster resident was previously a member of the Ashby and Boxborough Police departments.

Callahan had worn Patrolman badge 2, and so the badge handoff was made from Callahan to Patrolman James Wilson of Shirley. Wilson was a Shirley patrolman from 1986 to 2001. He’s been with the Ayer Police Department since 2001.

Unable to attend is the officer who’ll now wear badge 3, Brian Cunningham.

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