Newly minted sergeants David Bonfanti and Doug Marcus said their childhood dreams were fulfilled when they became police officers.
"The day I became a police officer was one of the happiest days of my life," said Marcus Wednesday afternoon, adding that similar feelings were stirred within him, standing there in with his family while he was officially sworn in as a sergeant on the force.
Marcus and Bonfanti were both formally promoted by Mayor Ted Bettencourt and Police Chief Robert Champagne Wednesday to fill two remaining vacancies in the supervisory roles. Both men offered high praise for the two officers, saying they were ready and well-equipped for the new duty.
"They understand that this job is about policing service in the community," said Champagne. "They understand what it's all about."
Bonfanti, a Peabody native and the son of former Mayor Michael Bonfanti, first joined the force in 1997 as a dispatcher, but then in 2002, he transferred over to the for a three-year stint before returning to his first love in 2005 as a full-time patrol officer.
He said his heart was always set on the Police Department, but the transfer was a valuable opportunity for him and his best option at the time.
Bonfanti began his brief remarks, answering a question Bettencourt posed to him in the weeks before the ceremony. He said Bettencourt asked him: "Is it weird coming back to this office?"
"Yes, it's weird...just like when you're favorite baseball player is no longer there," he said, referring to his father's absence now from the corner office. "But I'm glad that someone is here that really loves the city of Peabody."
Bonfanti and Marcus both thanked their colleagues and families for their mentoring roles, sacrifices and support over the years. Bonfanti and his wife Krystal have three young children.
The elder Bonfanti said after the ceremony that he's always been very proud of his son, no more so than that afternoon. "The Peabody Police Department is one of the best in the area."
Marcus, a Lynn native, also joined the Peabody force as a reserve dispatcher in 1996, eventually becoming a patrol officer in 2001. He spent about four years in the detectives division before returning to patrol last year.
He said he got his first taste of law enforcement, a childhood dream, working security at the for eight years after graduating from high school.
He moved to Peabody in the 1990s, got married and had two kids, the youngest of which (three-year-old Avery) stood smartly at attention next to her father and mother Patricia in a pint-sized uniform and cap on Wednesday.
"It looks like we have our newest future cadet," joked Bettencourt, who recalled standing at the side of his father about 30 years ago when Ed Bettencourt Sr. was sworn in as a new sergeant on the force.
"You're going to continue to have a friend in the corner office," Bettencourt said to those officers gathered Wednesday, adding that he will strive to provide them with the tools and training they need to do their jobs and advance in their careers.
A number of officers, both current and retired, along with some former Peabody officers and a few firefighters, including Chief Steven Pasdon, attended the ceremony.
Bettencourt noted public safety was one of two major areas he invested in with this year's city budget and was comforted coming into office that he had a strong and talented department in place that he didn't have to worry too much about.
He and Champagne are looking into adding to the department's full-time ranks over the next year by drawing on reserve officers.