By Brian Messenger
---- — METHUEN — With the swearing in of seven new police officers last week, there are now 67 patrolmen in the city — the highest number in the history of the Methuen Police Department.
Police Chief Joseph Solomon said the previous peak was 65 patrolmen in 2007. The seven new officers all graduated from the municipal police academy Dec. 7. Four of the positions will be funded through a federal grant.
All the new patrolmen either live in the city or are Methuen natives. Two are military veterans. Several also have familiar last names.
Kara McMenamon is the wife of Methuen police Det. Thomas McMenamon. Kenneth Pilz is the son of Richard Pilz, a 27-year veteran of the Methuen Police Department.
In January, Solomon said William Kannan will also join the department as the city’s newest patrolman. The son of City Council Chairwoman Jennifer Kannan has served as a reserve officer in Methuen for several years and is scheduled to graduate from the policy academy early next month. Solomon said he hopes to swear in one more patrolman late next year.
The new officers are:
Eric Ferreira Sr. of Methuen. Lowell native and graduate of Central Catholic High School and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Earned a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Member of the U.S. Marine Corps since 2002. Deployed twice to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Former police officer in Hudson, N.H. Earned three police academy awards for finishing with the highest grade point average, the best scores on the fitness test, and for being the class leader.
Brandon Laflamme of Haverhill. A Methuen native and graduate of Methuen High School and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. A reserve officer in Methuen since 2006. Former police dispatcher in North Andover.
Kara McMenamon of Methuen. Abington native and graduate of Salem, N.H., High School. A reserve police officer since 2010. Former Methuen police dispatcher.
Matthew Mueskes of Methuen. Graduate of Methuen High and Northeastern University. Earned master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Former Methuen reserve officer, security officer for Holy Family Hospital, and operations manager for Mueskes Landscaping. Finished second academically at police academy.
Robert Peabody of Methuen. A native of Tennessee and a U.S. Army veteran who served from 1990 to 1994 and was deployed to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm. Reserve Methuen police officer from 2006 to 2012. Full-time employee of the North Reading School Department for twelve years.
Kenneth Pilz of Methuen. Graduate of Methuen High and Utica College of Syracuse University. Employee at the Middleton House of Corrections for seven years.
David Souther Jr. of Methuen. Graduate of Methuen High. Former Comcast employee and a reserve Methuen officer since 2006.
With the addition of Kannan next year, Solomon said there will be 68 patrolmen in addition to 23 superior officers.
Solomon said the new additions will put more officers on the street, relieve scheduling pressure on existing staff and allow for renewed focus on initiatives like community outreach and traffic enforcement.
“It’s definitely very exciting,” said Solomon. “Not only does it give you more officers patrolling the streets, it allows you to do all the extra things.”