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Warren swears in new police chief



SEMERTGAKIS
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John Semertgakis is sworn in as Warren’s new police chief by Town Clerk Suzanne Flagg. (Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
November 20, 2012
WARREN — The town once again has a police chief after recently-elected Chief John Semertgakis was sworn in.

On Saturday morning, Semertgakis was formally sworn in as Warren's police chief by Town Clerk Suzanne Flagg in front of a small group including town officials and Semertgakis' wife Angie and son, John.

The police chief is a part time position, and is the only police officer in town, though the town receives regular police service from New Hampshire State Police and the Grafton County Sheriff's Department. The position is also elected by the voters, making Warren one of the few communities in New Hampshire that does; a practice that goes back to colonial days.

Warren has not had a Police Chief for more than two years, a situation stemming from the dismissal of former chief Warren Davis in 2010 amid allegations that he attempted to pursue an inappropriate relationship with an underage girl living in town.

Semertgakis said he understood the need for a police chief, and the difficulties presented with the absence of a chief when he made the decision to run for the position.

Semertgakis has lived in Warren for the past seven years with his wife Angie and his children John, 18, Peter, 15, and Jevin, 10. He has a history of community volunteer work, including serving as a firefighter, a coach, and overall volunteer, and many other roles for the community. He said taking on the role of police chief was an extension of that civic interest, saying there was a need to bring integrity back into the position.

"It seems like the next step in my community service," he said on the decision to run.

Semertgakis ran for the position, though he could not attend the New Hampshire Police Academy until he was elected. After being elected, he went to the Police Academy while still working during the day at numerous jobs such as working construction, driving a school bus, and continuing his volunteering efforts.

"I've been full time busy," Semertgakis said.

Semertgakis said he wants to let the public know that there is now a police presence in town, and assures them of safety. He said he plans to reach out to surrounding towns, discussing opportunities for mutual aid.

"As one of three selectmen, I am just thrilled," said Selectman Charlie Chandler. "Mr. Semertgakis has worked so hard and so diligently.

Chandler said Saturday was a significant day for the town. He said the absence of a police chief has had unique challenges in town, but State Police and Grafton County have been cooperative through this process.

"Mr. Semertgakis has presented himself as a young man with the demeanor consistent with the requirements of a small town police chief," Chandler said.

Angie Semertgakis said seeing her husband sworn in was "very rewarding."

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