NEW BEDFORD — The New Bedford Police Department honored three of its own on during a ceremony at Keith Middle School on Friday afternoon. The event saw the promotion of two officers and the recognition of the on and off-duty accomplishments of another.

A 13-year veteran of the force, Sergeant Justin Kagan has been promoted to Lieutenant. Kagan began his career with the New Bedford Police Department in 2005 and was promoted to Sergeant in 2012. Among many other accolades in his career, Kagan has also been awarded the Red Cross hero award, a Massachusetts Police Association medal of valor, and has received a commendation from the U.S. Department of Justice for outstanding service as a witness in a criminal case.

Before being officially promoted in the department, Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro spoke about the newly named Lieutenant Kagan, saying, “It is clear that Justin Kagan is worthy of this promotion. He is a servant to the department and the people he serves.”

"I feel very honored and fortunate this is happening. Hopefully going forward I can do the right thing for the department and the city,” Kagan said following the ceremony. “That was a great ceremony and I appreciate the words spoken and I appreciate it very much.”

Moving up in rank to Sergeant, Michael Cassidy has been with New Bedford Police for 24-years. He graduated the police academy in 1994 and started his career with the NBPD. After serving 10 years on patrol, Cassidy went on to be a detective in 2004 before serving a number of other roles within the department. Cassidy has also been named Officer of the Year by the Exchange Club, and has received two life-saving awards.

“I really enjoyed the ceremony. I didn't feel like I was ready to be promoted until I had all of my accomplishments completed in other areas of the department so I was more rounded to be a boss,” Cassidy explained. I'm a street cop (at heart). I love being on the street and doing police work but whatever job the Chief asks me to do that's the job I'm going to do and I will do it to the best of my ability.”

Following the promotions of Kagan and Cassidy, Officer Jeremy DeMello received the Chief's Award for his outstanding accomplishments within and outside the department. DeMello earned the award for his work in bringing Presents with Police to the NBPD in 2016. In this program, underprivileged children are paired off with police officers to shop for themselves and their family members to ensure they have Christmas presents. He is also a school resource officer at Roosevelt Middle School.

Through his work with Presents with Police and at Roosevelt, Officer DeMello changed the lives of children for the better, Chief Cordeiro said.

“It's a big deal what you've done here for us. You've changed the lives of our police officers and their families and countless children in need in your time here,” Chief Cordeiro said to DeMello while honoring him. “I thank you immensely for doing this for our department and our city.”

The Chief also said that all three men serve their department and their community with distinction, and urged them to continue to build bonds within the department and community. Chief Cordeiro also encouraged them to embrace the community policing philosophy.

"You want to be able to leave here someday and say, I've done my best to serve people,'' Chief Cordeiro said. “This is a team sport and it requires you to work as a team within the department and within the community.”