BERLIN — Gratefulness for the support of the town was a common theme at a promotion ceremony for two local police officers earlier this week.
“It’s just great to be a part of law enforcement in this community,” said Lieutenant Shawn Solek, who was elevated from the rank of sergeant to manage the department’s operations division, which encompasses 22 officers and six patrol supervisors.
Sergeant Rob Martin said out of the four departments he’s worked in, including 21 years with the New Britain Police Department, he has never seen another with the degree of commitment his fellow officers show for their community.
“I assure you, I will not let this community down. I love this community,” he said.
Their promotions were met from applause from the crowded rotunda of the Town Hall, where the August 26 ceremony was held with town officials, family and plenty of officers congratulating them. Solek’s badge was pinned to his uniform by his father, John Solek, a retired Berlin Police sergeant, while Martin’s was pinned by his wife, Sherri Martin, who wore her own uniform as an officer with the Enfield Police Department.
Solek, who has been with the department for 12 years, is taking over after Lieutenant James Gosselin retired on July 7 after 37 years with the department as a full and part time officer. Klett noted that both he and Deputy Chief Christopher Ciuci have headed the operations division in the past and can assist Solek as he takes over the job.
According to a press release from the department, Solek is also a “firearms instructor, Taser instructor, field training officer, domestic violence liaison, and member of the ATV unit and Honor Guard.”
Berlin Police Chief John Klett noted that during Martin’s time with the New Britain Police Department, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant before his retirement, giving Klett confidence that Martin can handle the responsibilities of a sergeant. Department rules require that officers serve five years before being eligible for promotion.
Klett said he had a strong pool of applicants, who by union rules were required to take a test which determines who is most qualified to meet the responsibilities of a higher rank. Solek and Martin, who both scored highest on the exams, were approved for the promotions by the Police Commission during an August 14 special meeting.
Klett said the department’s success in town is owed to the caliber of the officers the commission has hired over the years.