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Assistant Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard hugs his daughters, Paige, left, and Rachel at his promotion ceremony Thursday. (DAVID LANE / UNION LEADER)
About 20 years ago, he and Enoch "Nick" Willard were patrol officers staking out a drug house in the city when Mara told Willard that, should Mara ever become chief, he would have Willard at his side.
Willard was brought to tears by his daughters, Paige and Rachel, who gave a detailed account of his storied 21-year career with the department, ending it by saying he was an amazing dad and their hero.
The child was snatched from her bed at 203 Wilson St. in June 1995 by a man who lived in the same building and took her back to his apartment where he brutally assaulted her.Willard and Officer Al Mosely were sent there after a woman called to say her boyfriend, Dewayne Miles, then 26, had grabbed her by the hair and choked her.The woman arrived home unexpectedly that morning about 2:30 a.m. from work and unwittingly interrupted the rape.
"I have always been a victim-oriented police officer so I have a certain attachment to that case," he said. "It's just something you don't ever forget."Miles is incarcerated in the state prison in Berlin. He is eligible for parole in 2024, according to prison officials.Willard, a native of Portland, Maine, entered law enforcement after a four-year stint in the U.S. Air Force.
In the 21 years since, he has served in various departments, including patrol and detectives, where he rose to the rank of captain and division commander.
He holds an associate's degree in criminal justice and is completing his bachelor's degree.
In 2009, Willard earned an honorable mention in the National Association of Police Organization's Top Cop Award, acknowledging his efforts in Addison's arrest and conviction. He also received the U.S. Marshals Service Award for the arrest of a top 10 fugitive.Yesterday, Steven Monier from U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte's office presented him with a U.S. flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., in his honor.Willard replaces Gary Simmons, who retired in April.
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