By SCOTT JACKSON
John Steele, a 25-year veteran of the Quincy Police Department, was promoted to the rank of captain during a City Hall ceremony.
City Clerk Nicole Crispo swore in Steele, age 50, in front of a room full of fellow police officers Thursday morning. Steele’s wife, Jessica, pinned the captain with his new badge.
Following the promotion ceremony, Steele thanked department leadership and his fellow officers for their support, and said he would put his best foot forward.
“It’s something you work very hard for during your career,” Steele said of becoming captain. “It’s a huge step forward for my family. I promise I will put my best foot forward.”
Steele joined the department in 1993 and become one of its first community police officers, assigned to the Germantown area. He spent two years as a community police officer, and then five as a patrol officer across the city.
Steele was assigned to the Community Services Unit, now known as the Special Investigations Unit, as a detective from 2000 to 2002. While there, he investigated sex crimes and juvenile offenses.
Steele was promoted sergeant in 2002 and was assigned to patrol. He stayed there until 2005, when he was promoted to lieutenant. As lieutenant, he served as day patrol shift commander from 2005 to 2008, when he was reassigned to the Bureau of Criminal Investigations. Steele remained there until his promotion to captain.
Mayor Thomas Koch said Steele is well liked and respected within the department.
“I know Lieutenant Steele, about to be Captain Steele, has been a big part of the department for a long time and he’s well respected and well liked,” the mayor said. “We’re certainly proud of him and his family quite proud of him. It’s a good day for him certainly and a good day for the department. I congratulate you and your family and certainly wish you all the best.”
Koch also credited the police department for the work it does throughout the city. After the recent dedication of the Hancock-Adams Common, the mayor said the owner of a long-time business in Quincy Center remarked that he has never had to pull down a steel grate over his storefront at closing time, unlike businesses in other cities.
“He largely attributes that to the great department we have – you folks – and I absolutely agree with that,” Koch said. “You guys put it on the line every day and we’re a better community for that.”
Police Chief Paul Keenan said Steele is an outstanding police officer.
“John has been a good friend of mine for a lot of years. We’ve worked together in a number of different roles. He’s always been outstanding. I’ve always respected his judgment, without question, unless it comes to fantasy football,” Keenan said.
“John has been great leader in the Quincy Police Department and I really look forward to having him join the upper command staff and be part of the day-to-day operation.”
Keenan, age 60, said he has no plans to retire soon, but the department would be in good hands when he does because of Steele and officers throughout the ranks.
“When I do decide to retire…whenever that may be, I know I’m going to hand off the reins to a number of different men and women in this audience and the Quincy Police Department is going to be in great hands under the leadership of John and a number of the lieutenants, captains and sergeants who do a great job every day,” Keenan said.
Steele was promoted to captain because of the upcoming retirement of Capt. Anthony DiBona at the end of September, Keenan said. DiBona is retiring because he will reach the mandatory retirement age of 65.
The police chief said he is in the process of reviewing the assignments for his five captains with DiBona retiring, and would determine Steele’s assignment as part of the process.
Sgt. James Flaherty will be promoted to the rank of the lieutenant in the near future, Keenan said; Flaherty will receive the promotion while he is on active-duty military leave and will be formally sworn in once he returns.
James Greene was promoted to sergeant this March to fill Flaherty’s sergeant position, Keenan said.