By Jim Clark
In an emotionally charged ceremony in the City of Somerville aldermanic chambers last Thursday, slain MIT police officer and aspiring Somerville Police Department officer Sean Collier was posthumously awarded his badge and officially welcomed into the ranks of Somerville’s finest.
In the presence of Collier’s family, friends and colleagues, as well as a well-represented gathering of local and state public officials, the late Somerville Auxiliary Police officer was awarded the badge that he longed for and worked hard to earn. Badge number 310 was assigned to Collier, and then retired permanently in his honor.
The appointment followed months of efforts by Mayor Curtatone, The Somerville Police Department, and others, to have Collier become a SPD officer following his tragic death, allegedly at the hands of Boston Marathon Bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, on April 18 of this year. Collier was expected to have been sworn in as a SPD officer in June of this year.
Speaking at Thursday’s ceremony, Mayor Curtatone said, “If Sean Collier were here tonight, Alderman Desmond would be eloquently reciting Sean’s bio, and he would talk about Sean being a graduate of Wilmington High School in 2004. How he went on to Salem State University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, with honors, in 2009, and how he was an intern for part of that time for the Somerville Police Department. And how he formed close and strong bonds with the men and women of the department.”
The mayor went on to enumerate the many achievements and contributions made by Collier over the ensuing years, both as an aspiring police officer and as a concerned individual eager to lend support in his community wherever he was needed.
“He would have been here,” said the mayor, “standing in that corner like so many other ceremonies in the past, and so many that will follow. As the City Clerk asks him to recite the oath, he raises his hand. Signs the book, with his family standing in that horseshoe taking pictures. He makes the rounds, shaking all our hands. I can just picture it now.”
Somerville Police Chief Thomas Pasquarello spoke of Collier’s aspirations of joining the SPD. “We all have our dreams. Sean Collier’s dream was to become a Somerville police officer. I think it says a lot about Sean, his drive and determination, that even death did not deter him from accomplishing his goal. One can only wonder the impact that Sean Collier could have had if his life had not been cut short by two cowards. The impact that he would have made on the police department, on this community, on everyone that he’s touched, and also everyone in the nation,” said Pasquarello. “There was no one who would have been more proud than Sean Collier to wear badge 310 and represent the Somerville Police Department.”
Sean Collier’s brother Andrew also spoke to the Board and the others Assembled, saying, “Sean has been called many things over the past four months. He’s been called a hero, honorable, selfless. A brother, a son, and a great friend. One of the things Sean would be the most proud of to be called is a great cop. Sean held police to the highest honor. There was no one more respectable than an officer of the law.”
Andrew Collier extended his gratitude to the many who helped his family through the difficult time since his brother’s death. He offered special thanks to Deputy Chief Michael Cabral for his tireless efforts to console the grieving family and his help in facilitating his brother’s appointment to the SPD.
After statements by members of the Board of Alderman were made, the roll call vote was taken and the item was passed unanimously by all members present.
A presentation ceremony was then conducted, bestowing Collier’s badge to his family.