FOXBORO — Police Lt. Richard Noonan has been promoted to deputy police chief, Town Manager William Keegan announced Wednesday.

Noonan, a police officer for 21 years, had applied to be the police chief but Keegan picked Lt. Michael Grace in August, based on the recommendations of an assessment panel.

Noonan, who became a lieutenant in 2016, holds a master’s degree in criminal justice administration from Northeastern University and bachelor’s degree in criminology from Bridgewater State College. In the spring of 2019, he graduated from the FBI National Academy, a prestigious achievement in law enforcement.

The deputy police chief’s position has been vacant since Edward O’Leary retired in 2016. The last deputy chief was John Chandler.

“Rich was the perfect candidate for that role,” Keegan said.

Keegan said the position used to come under Civil Service but that was changed at a special town meeting in November.

He said that with Grace as police chief and Noonan as deputy chief, the town has two “highly qualified guys.” He said choosing between them to become police chief was difficult.

Throughout his career, Noonan has served in a variety of leadership roles including director of the field training officer program, training and standards lieutenant, Gillette Stadium operations commander and the police department’s liaison to the Department of Homeland Security.

Noonan was promoted to patrol sergeant in 2003. He is a trained drug recognition expert.

“Deputy Chief Noonan’s work ethic and commitment to the agency and to the residents of Foxboro is shown daily in his innovative thinking and program development within the department,” police said in a statement announcing the promotion.

“He has demonstrated his ability to mentor others and continues to develop and strengthen relationships within the community and with other public safety agencies,” the statement said.

Noonan is a Foxboro High School graduate who was hired as a patrolman in 1999. Prior to becoming a police officer, he worked for the state Department of Corrections at Pondville Correctional Center in Norfolk.

David Linton may be reached at 508-236-0338.

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