METHUEN — Seven members of the Methuen Police Department recently received promotions.
The officers taking a step up in rank bring decades of combined experience to the department. They've worked in multiple divisions, served as commanders and supervisors, and have trained their fellow officers.
The seven men came to City Hall dressed in suits and sat in the front rows of the Great Hall while the City Council approved their promotions. They later dressed in uniform for a formal pinning and swear-in ceremony at Sanborn Hall at the Quinn Public Safety Building.
Police Chief Joseph Solomon thanked the City Council and Mayor Stephen Zanni for their support of the department over the years.
“With how much our city has grown the past few years, it has required us to have more positions and move some people up in rank and I really appreciate that we've had all this support,” Solomon said.
The chief praised his officers, saying that they've really “showed initiative” and that their promotions were “well deserved.”
A standing ovation from the councilors and some of the residents in attendance at the meeting followed.
The promoted officers include captains, lieutenants and sergeants.
Kevin Mahoney and James Jajuga Jr. were promoted to captain from lieutenant. Mahoney is a 27-year veteran of the department current serving as commander of the Community Outreach Bureau. He represents the police department as a member of the Holy Family Hospital Community Benefits board as well as the Merrimack Valley Prevention and Substance Abuse Project. Mahoney was promoted to sergeant in 2001 and lieutenant in 2004. He has been married to his wife, Margery, for more than 20 years and the couple has two children: Emily, 14, and Ryan, 10.
Jajuga has been with the Methuen Police Department for 17 years. In that time he has supervised or commanded the patrol division; narcotics, gangs and homeland security; community policing; burglary task force; and the detective division. Jajuga holds a JD from Massachusetts School of Law and has been an attorney since 2009. He lives in Methuen with his daughters: Ashley, 13, and Kaitlyn, 11.
Joseph Aiello and Ron Valliere were promoted to lieutenant from sergeant. Aiello has served Methuen police for 23 years. He was also a U.S. Navy Seabee and obtained the rank of petty officer third class. Currently, Aiello is the supervisor of the school service unit and has also served as a school resource officer in the Methuen Public Schools. He is also a training instruction for the police motor unit, coordinates training for the Methuen Police Explorers, and is a member of the regional North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) School Threat Assessment and Response System (STARS).
As both a field training officer for Methuen police and an instructor for the Northern Essex Community College/Methuen Police Academy, Aiello has trained several active officers. He has also been a narcotics detective, community policing officer and traffic unit officer. He is supported by his family, including mother Agatha Aiello, fiancee Danielle Toulouse and fellow Methuen police Officer Mark Aiello. His son, Lt. Joseph M. Aiello, is currently serving in the U.S. Navy as a commissioned officer.
Valliere has been with the Methuen Police Department for a quarter-century. He's worked in several divisions, including patrol, community policing, the criminal investigations bureau, the drug and gang unit, and the FBI's joint terrorism task force. He lives in Methuen with his wife, Colleen. They have two children, Paul and Taylor, daughter-in-law Brianne, and two grandchildren, Jayden and Avianna.
Three patrolman were also promoted to sergeant: Eric DeLeon, Dan O'Connell and Joseph Rynne.
DeLeon is the second Hispanic officer to obtain the rank of sergeant in the Methuen Police Department. He served in the U.S. Army infantry for three years and joined the police department in 2000. He has worked in the patrol division and narcotics and gang unit, and has spent the last eight years assigned to the criminal investigations division. He is assigned to the ATV unit and has served in the NEMLEC Regional Response Team. DeLeon and his wife, Ana, have two daughters, Selina and Alexis, and son Lyric.
O'Connell hails from upstate New York and came to Methuen in 2001. He was appointed as a reserve officer here in 2005. He became full-time and attended the Lowell Police Academy where he won the “Top Gun” award for marksmanship. O'Connell has served in the patrol and training divisions, works as a field training officer and is a member of the department's special operations team and the NEMLEC Regional Response Team. He teaches firearms, defensive tactics, Taser, and first responder/CPR techniques, and has assisted at several police academies throughout the state and at the joint police academy at Northern Essex. His training includes SWAT tactics, active shooter situations, incident command and armorer's classes. He is married to City Council Lynn Vidler and has two children: Danny, 17, and Gavin, 8. Over the last decade in Methuen he's volunteered as a youth football, wrestling and lacrosse coach.
Rynne began his policing career as an intermittent police officer in 2002 and became full-time in 2003. He has worked in the patrol division and for the past two years has been assigned to the community outreach unit. Rynne is a member of the special operations unit and NEMLEC Regional Response Team. He is currently serving in the marine unit and is a Taser instructor for Methuen police. He lives in Methuen with his wife, Christine, and their daughter, Kaileigh.
Follow Lisa Kashinsky on Twitter @lisakash23.