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New Candia police Officer Tom Terilli completed the full-time police academy earlier this month. (Ryan O’Connor/Union Leader Correspondent)

Candia welcomes 44-year-old officer to full-time force

CANDIA — In 2005, Thomas Terilli was 35-years old and weighed 315 pounds. That year, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The disease and subsequent recovery, he said, proved a wakeup call.

“I realized I was pretty unhappy with the way that I felt, and the cancer kind of kickstarted me,” he said. “I always wanted to become a cop, and I figured, if I don’t do it now, I probably never will.”

Candia police, this month, officially welcomed Terilli to the full-time force. Prior to being hired in Candia last July, Terilli worked as a part-time officer in Greenfield since 2010. Now down to around 220 pounds, he graduated in the 163rd full-time NH Police Standards and Training Council class in early April and, having already completed his field training, hit the streets in Candia.

“I’m 44 now, and I’ve been trying to get on (full-time) since 2008,” he said. “I applied in Candia in 2011 and Officer (John) Minichiello, who works part-time in both Candia and Hancock, told me they were hiring (in 2013) and asked me if I had any interest and, of course, I did.”

Terilli went through all the standard physical, mental and background tests and was chosen from a solid group of candidates, said Chief Michael McGillen.

“He was the most qualified candidate out of the group, especially based on his experience being a part-time officer, and his people skills were really strong, I suspect as a result of his previous experience in sales,” said McGillen.

“He’s kept in shape, is very mature and has been working out really well for us,” the chief said. “He stays busy, completes his paperwork in a timely fashion. He’s polite with citizens and just a well-rounded good guy that’s been a great fit for this town.”

Terilli, who grew up in the Bronx, moved to Dracut, Mass., when he was 12 and lived there until 2006, when he moved to New Hampshire.

Though he has previously applied on several occasions to larger departments, such as Manchester and Nashua, he said getting hired in Candia has been a blessing.

“Candia has basically a lot of what I was looking for in that I’m working for a small town, and I like that element, but it’s also a huge commuter town, so a lot of people float through,” said Terilli. “I mean, it’s as busy as you want it to be. It’s literally nonstop some days.

“I like the fact that when you start on something, you don’t pass it off to a detective,” he added. “Everything you get you basically see through to the finish.”

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