By Bill Kirk
---- — ANDOVER — In the blink of an eye, the town had a new police chief.
City Clerk Larry Murphy yesterday morning administered the oath of office to Sgt. Patrick Keefe at 9 a.m. By 9:05 a.m., he was officially the new chief.
Former Chief Brian Pattullo retired on Wednessday at the age of 55 after 32 years on the force.
Already, Keefe is making his mark on the department. Yesterday, he promoted Sgt. Charles Heseltine to commander, taking over the second-in-command position from Lt. James Hashem, who held the post under Pattullo.
Hashem, who was one of three people in the running for chief, will return to the position of shift commander. Lt. Edward Guy, the third finalist for the chief’s job, has also been named to Keefe’s executive staff.
Keefe will outline his plans and goals for the department at a public swearing-in ceremony Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Old Town Hall on Main Street.
The 45-year-old Keefe, originally from Northampton, Mass., has been on the department since 1998. He is a U.S. Army veteran with deployments to Bosnia and Iraq and is a 15-year member of the Massachusetts National Guard, where he is a lieutenant colonel.
His military experience is one of the factors that led to the decision to hire him, said Andover Town Manager Reginald ‘Buzz’ Stapczynski, who attended yesterday’s ceremony.
“All the candidates had unbelievable opportunities for training,” Stapczynski said. “That and his military training were important factors in the final decision.”
He said that Keefe went through a “long and involved process” and emerged as “the top candidate of the three in the pool.”
Keefe will start the job at around $130,000 a year with potential for a raise fairly soon once negotiations with department heads conclude sometime in the near future, Stapczynski said.
Keefe was joined at the small gathering yesterday by his wife, Leigh, and their four children — Megan, 18; Brianna, 15; Patrick, 13; and Conan, 10.
“I’m very proud,” said his wife, who grew up in Andover and graduated from Andover High School in 1986. “It’s an exciting time for our family.”
They live on Andover Street and send all their children to Andover schools.
See week’s Andover Townsman for a closer look at Chief Patrick Keefe and his plans for the Andover Police Department.