GOFFSTOWN -- Friends and family members packed the Select Board’s town hall meeting room on Monday night to see former Lt. Eric Sereno sworn in as the new captain and second in command of Goffstown Police Department.

Sereno’s promotion to captain comes one week after Capt. Kerry Stekowych ended his 27-year tenure with the department following his appointment as a Circuit Court judge by Gov. Chris Sununu.

"I'm from this community, I grew up here, so for Goffstown it's a good thing and I'm second in command and can help facilitate the community policing foundation that we have and will continue to have,” said Sereno.

A lifetime Granite Stater, Sereno moved to Goffstown from the West Side of Manchester while he was in the fourth grade. He graduated from high school in 2000 and went on to serve six years as an Air Force MP before returning to Goffstown and beginning his career with the police department in 2006.

"I had a lot of opportunities to go other places after the military, but this is home,” said Sereno.

In his new role, Sereno will serve as a de facto second in command to Chief Robert Browne, overseeing the day-to-day functions of everything from the patrol division and records keeping, to the dispatch center and legal department.

Browne, who was a new sergeant when Sereno was first-hired in 2006, says he recognized Sereno’s potential from the get-go.

"He had the swagger already, which sometimes takes officers a little difficulty to grasp at first when it comes to the non-verbal cues that you need to know when dealing with the public,” said Browne. “He had a keen sense of questioning what was going on from every standpoint. That makes a young officer a good officer."

Identifying the promotion as an opportunity to groom Sereno to someday transition into the role of chief, Browne said Sereno’s positive demeanor and ability to work cooperatively with the town’s many stakeholders made him an asset to the department.

“In a profession like ours, where we have a lot of negativity that gets thrown among ourselves and from the outside, having somebody that can shine a positive light is very important,” said Browne.

As Stekowych leaves the department he’s worked for since 1999 in order to begin his long-held dream of serving as a judge, he says he’s confident that Sereno is “the right person for the job" of captain.

"Eric's a really highly dedicated officer who always wants to do the right thing,” said Stekowych. “He's always looking out for people. If he sees someone struggling, he'll be the first to reach out and try and lend a hand if he can. I think it's really important to have that kind of continuity."