LYNDEBOROUGH — In a packed room at Citizens Hall on Wednesday night, Rance Deware was sworn in as the town's new police chief.
The event was years in the making.
The position of chief was abolished in 2007 and then reinstated this past March following a vote at Town Meeting. After a long search, the Board of Selectmen settled on Deware, 49, who served as the department's officer-in-charge for the past 16 months.
"It's nice to be recognized for all the hard work I've done over the last year and a half, and I have brought a lot of table," Deware, of Milford, said on Wednesday night. "For the last five years I have been involved with small rural town departments in Mont Vernon, Brookline and Newfields, which gave me a lot of experience to bring to Lyndeborough."
Deware was sworn in by Town Clerk Patricia Schultz, and then presented his police chief's badge by his wife, Lisa, and a single star to replace his lieutenant bar by Selectmen Kevin Boette and Arnie Byam.
The ceremony was moved upstairs because of the overflowing crowd, which included County Attorney Patty LaFrance, many police chiefs, officers, firefighters and EMTs from various towns, and family, friends and residents of the community who came out to show their support.
"I think that Lt. Deware, now Chief Deware, is an extremely qualified individual with an excellent education and resume," said Kevin Boette, chairman of the Board of Selectmen. "I think the biggest asset he brings to the table is his commitment to the community and his concern for the people of Lyndeborough. He will bring stability and professionalism to the department, and I look forward to working with him into the future."
Deware's mother flew in from Florida for the ceremony and his children Katrina, 15, and Matthew, 12, were eager to see their father promoted. "I'm so proud of my dad," Katrina said. "He has come so far in this journey and I couldn't be more proud of him and our family."
Deware has an associate's degree in criminal justice from Hesser College, a bachelor's degree in management from Franklin Pierce College, and a master's degree in business education from Southern New Hampshire University.
The position is part time at 32 hours per week and pays $54,000 a year without benefits.
Chief Brent Hautanen of the Wilton Police Department said he has worked closely with Deware for a few years.
"Rance has been doing the job for 16 months and has done a great job and will continue to do a great job, and as the town next door I'm glad to see some stability. Rance will be good for this position," Hautanen said.