METHUEN — They are patrol officers, honorees, youth coaches, volunteers and fathers.
Four Methuen police officers — Lt. Joseph Rynne Jr., Sgt. Kevin Dzioba, Sgt. Matthew Mueskes and Sgt. Derek Licata — were officially promoted this week with the blessing of the City Council.
Police Chief Scott McNamara put the officers’ names before the council, noting they were taken directly in order from a Civil Service list and “will fill a critical need in the department.”
The four are the first promotions for McNamara, who took over as chief in October in a department previously marred by allegations of nepotism, favoritism and corruption in hiring and promotional practices.
“As a city councilor, it’s comforting to know our police chief is doing this in the right way,” said City Councilor Michael Simard, who is also a police sergeant in the neighboring city of Lawrence. A personal friend and neighbor of Rynne, Simard recused himself on Tuesday night from voting on that promotion.
Council President D.J. Beauregard echoed similar sentiments on the promotions when reached after the meeting.
“The chief is going right down the list, just as it should be done,” said Beauregard of McNamara.
“He is a breath of fresh air, and I know the new lieutenant and three sergeants will do a great job. They are exceptional people,” he said.
There are currently 90 police officers in Methuen. McNamara does hope to expand the force over the next two years, according to a reorganizational plan he filed with the council on Tuesday night.
Pleased with the promotions, Mayor Neil Perry said “everyday the Chief reminds me of why I hired him … His approach to everything is transparency.”
“It’s great to see recognition for people who deserve it. There are quality people in the department doing good for the community. These four gentlemen are examples of that,” Perry said.
McNamara submitted bios to the council which outlined each officer’s history. Here is a glimpse of each officer’s background:
– Rynne is a Methuen native and 19-year veteran of the MPD. Along with other officers, he is a Tenney Street Park youth basketball coach and referee. He’s also has leadership training, including an FBI program.
– In 2014, Dzioba received the Marathon Bombing Award for assisting in the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 19, 2013. He started his career in 1989 as an auxiliary police officer and intermittent dispatcher. Dzioba is also a drone pilot certified by the Federal Aviation Administration and has coached Methuen youth baseball, softball and basketball.
– A Methuen officer since 2005, Mueskes became an MPD provisional sergeant last year and was assigned to the early night shift. He’s been a canine handler for the department bloodhound, Duke, and a field training officer. Mueskes is also a youth coach, having volunteered with Methuen Youth Hockey for the past for years.
– Licata started his MPD career as a police explorer in 1988, auxiliary officer in 1991 and reserve officer in 1993, and then full-time officer in 1994. He’s worked as a patrol officer, field training officer, school resource officer and has served on the marine patrol and mountain bike units. For the past seven years, Licata has been the training coordinator and social media specialist and teaches in the criminal justice program at Northern Essex Community College.
McNamara thanked both Perry and the council for the support of the promotions.
‘This represents yet another step towards becoming the first rate, 21st century law enforcement agency we hope to be,” he said.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.