MONT VERNON — A Milford police officer known for his bravery during a fatal home invasion in Mont Vernon in 2009 will become the town's new police chief later this month.
Detective Sgt. Kevin Furlong will take the helm of the Mont Vernon Police Department on Dec. 16, following a swearing-in ceremony at the weekly selectmen's meeting. Furlong was chosen out of a field of nearly 60 applicants, according to Jack Esposito, chairman of the board of selectmen.
Esposito said that a search committee narrowed the field down to three finalists, whom the board interviewed.
"All three candidates gave very strong interviews and it was a very tough decision," he said, "but in the end we chose Kevin. We think he'll be a good fit for Mont Vernon."
Furlong began his career in law enforcement in Amherst in 1999 and in 2003 moved over to Milford, where he served in several supervisory capacities, including his current role as sergeant in the detective unit. Furlong is currently working toward his master's degree in organizational leadership at Southern New Hampshire University.
"My entire career and everything I've done up to this point has been motivated by the goal of one day becoming a chief of police," said Furlong.
In May, when Mont Vernon's former police chief Kyle Aspinwall retired from law enforcement, Furlong decided the timing was right to try and achieve his goal, and Mont Vernon seemed like the ideal place to start.
Furlong said he knows the town well and had an opportunity to see the community at its best following a home invasion that left Kimberly Cates dead and then-11-year-old Jaimie seriously wounded on Oct. 4, 2009. Furlong was working the night shift in Milford on Oct. 4 and was the first officer to arrive on the scene of the home invasion. After seeing Jaimie in the kitchen through a window, Furlong broke in the locked door to the home, began caring for Jaimie, and ensured that the perpetrators were no longer on the scene.
For his efforts, Furlong was honored as a hero on the local, state and national level for his response at the Cates' home, but also had to undergo shoulder surgery to repair an injury he suffered while trying to gain access to the house. But it is Furlong's memory of the community following the devastating attacks that made him want to come to Mont Vernon.
"It was so nice to see how everybody rallied around each other," he said. "It was encouraging to see how a community could come together after something like that."
Furlong said he doesn't foresee any difficult challenges ahead in Mont Vernon because he's got a group of good officers and a well-established police department.
"I look forward to contributing to what's already there, and to being part of the community," he said. "And I look forward to helping the board of selectmen maintain that balance."
Esposito credited Aspinwall with creating the strong department Furlong will inherit, and said he believes Furlong will continue to carry the department forward in a positive way.
"He's young and energetic, and he's enthusiastic about being the police chief," Esposito said.
Furlong will earn around $67,000 as chief, Esposito said.