Desmond Sworn As Acting Police Chief in Wilmington
WILMINGTON -- Friday afternoon marked the official retirement of Police Chief Michael Begonis and the start of Lt. Joseph Desmond’s time as acting police chief.
For the pair, who started in the police academy together and have served 31 years with the department, the moment was bittersweet.
“The best that we can hope for is that I carry on what Mike has done for 14 years. If I can do that then I’m a success,” Desmond told the crowd of family members, town officials and Police Department members who attended the swearing-in.
Looking ahead, Desmond said that first on his list would be to maintain the department’s level of service in town -- something the department will have to do as it seeks to fill a number of vacancies within the command staff, including Desmond’s position.
“I’ll be pushing for that as soon as I can,” Desmond said.
With summer approaching, and with it a few road races and Wilmington’s Fourth of July celebration, Desmond said his goal is to ensure those events go on without any interruption.
As he addressed the crowd gathered at Town Hall, Desmond said that while he is feeling some apprehension about his new role, support from the community and within the department has assuaged that apprehension.
In turn, he said he is looking forward to supporting the department’s staff as best he can.
In his last days with the department, Begonis said his focus was to help the department prepare for the changes ahead.
As he looks to Monday, Desmond said it is all a bit surreal.
“I’ve never known this organization without him,” Desmond said, referring to Begonis.
After 14 years as chief, Begonis decided to retire and accept a job in the private sector doing work similar to Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council emergency response.
When asked if he would be interested in the permanent chief position, Desmond answered “absolutely” without hesitation.
“That would be an honor,” Desmond said.