On a Day for Promotions, Nobrega Becomes First Hispanic Officer to Make Lieutenant

October 13, 2018

Left: Police Superintendent Kelly Richardson speaks Friday during a packed promotion ceremony at City Hall as City Manager Eileen Donoghue looks on. Right: Capt. Barry Golner was promoted to Deputy Superintendent. Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

LOWELL -- Lowell police Sgt. Marisol Nobrega on Friday stood beside three male officers in a crowded Mayor’s Reception Room at City Hall. Family members and other officers came to watch the four get promoted and sworn in to their new roles.

Lt. Mathew Penrose became Capt. Penrose. Patrol Officer Christopher Purtell became Sgt. Purtell. Capt. Barry Golner became Deputy Police Superintendent Golner. And Sgt. Nobrega became Lt. Nobrega.

When introducing Nobrega, Police Superintendent Raymond “Kelly” Richardson listed her credentials built over 20 years at the department.

“More importantly today, she’ll be the first Hispanic female police lieutenant in the history of the Lowell Police Department,” Richardson said. “I think she deserves a round of applause for that.”

That the honor came during Hispanic Heritage Month was fitting.

And the room erupted with cheers as the significance sunk in for the traditionally male-dominated department. From the room’s entrance beamed members of Nobrega’s family, including her sister Lissette Quinones and two of Nobrega’s sons, Justin and Christopher Velez. Justin, a patrol officer with the Lowell Police Department, pinned his mother’s new badge on her uniform during the ceremony.

The daughter of Puerto Rican parents (both now deceased), Nobrega said she was really excited to be promoted to lieutenant.

“I have three boys and I’ve been on the Police Department for 20 years and I never expected my oldest to be a police officer, too, but he is,” Nobrega, 47, said. “It’s just an exciting time. I’ve been living in the city since I was a kid and I love working and living here, so I’m very happy.”

On the historic moment, Nobrega said she was just excited.

“Hopefully my community is proud as well,” she added.

Richardson said he’s very proud of Nobrega and that it’s important that the Police Department provide opportunities to all officers in the organization.

“Obviously, we’re a very diverse city and I think that having Southeast Asian officers, having Hispanic officers on board, and now to have this woman promoted to lieutenant, I think that it shows and hopefully it’s going to motivate some of our other officers to take these promotional exams,” Richardson said.

Richardson later added that Golner, who has now taken over his previous position, has always been a vital part of the department. “I look forward to working with him,” he said. “He’s been a self-motivated self-starter. He’s also the future of this department.”

Proud family

After the ceremony, Nobrega’s family fawned over her. They embraced her and snapped photos with her in her officer’s cap.

“I’m ecstatic. I don’t know how to put it in words,” Quinones, 44, said. “My mom would have been super proud of her. I’m honored to be her sister and just excited for her. I’m excited to see what else is to come because I know she’s not going to stop there.”

Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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