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October 04. 2012 7:23PM

Amherst police lieutenant named new chief

AMHERST — A 19-year veteran of the Amherst Police Department has been selected to head the police force, replacing Chief Peter Lyon, who is retiring at the end of the month.

Town officials announced this week that Lt. Mark Reams will take over as the new police chief on Oct. 27.

“I am definitely excited about it,” Reams said Thursday.

Reams started out as a police officer in 1993, and was promoted to sergeant about seven years later.

“At that point, I was locked in,” said Reams, explaining there is such a low turnover rate at the station, which he said represents a healthy organization.

Because the department is professionally run, Reams said he doesn't anticipate making any immediate changes, but is looking forward to getting acclimated to the job and its responsibilities.

In addition to serving as a lieutenant, Reams has also been the department's full-time police prosecutor since 2007. It has not yet been determined who will fill Reams' lieutenant position once he takes over as chief.

“We have the better part of a month to deal with some of these issues and get organized,” he said.

Reams, who graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in political science, has attended specialized training with the FBI Law Enforcement Development Association and the Police Command Training Center at Roger Williams University.

He lives in Amherst with his wife, Dawn, and their two sons, Benjamin and Jack.

“Mark possesses an intellect and a level of common sense that have led him to a position of respect with the department members, district court personnel and the community at large,” Lyon said in a statement. “It is clear that Mark is committed to the town of Amherst, and to continuing the tradition of excellent policing that the residents have come to expect.”

The town is fortunate to have Reams lead the department, agreed Selectman Bruce Bowler, chairman, adding Reams graduated from the Police Academy at the head of his class in combined academics, physical fitness and firearms proficiency.

“I am looking forward to working with Chief Reams and knowing he will continue to maintain the professionalism of the Amherst Police Department,” Bowler said in a release.

Selectman Dwight Brew agreed, saying Reams' education level and commitment to bettering himself has convinced him that the Board of Selectmen made the right decision in promoting Reams.

khoughton@newstote.com

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