By THOMAS P. CALDWELL, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILFORD — The Gilford Police Department has filled a longstanding vacancy with the hiring of Stephen Kessler as a detective, while also promoting two long-time officers within the department.
Lt. Kristopher Kelley assumed the position of deputy chief, which Police Chief Anthony Bean Burpee said had been unfilled for years, although the job description remained. Bean Burpee said there had been two deputy chiefs in the past, but the work had been handled by two lieutenants in recent years.
Also promoted was Adam VanSteensburg, who became a sergeant on Monday.
Kessler is returning to municipal police work after serving for 12 years as a state forest ranger. Prior to that, he had served with the Moultonborough Police Department, and he also served with the Belknap County Special Operations Group.
“It’s a great town to continue my career,” Kessler said after taking the oath of office yesterday. “I missed working out on the street, and I like the town of Gilford.”
He said the majority of his family resides in Laconia, with some relatives living in Gilford.
VanSteensburg came to Gilford from the Somerville, Massachusetts, area, having spent summers in the Lakes Region. He moved to New Hampshire permanently in 1998 and joined the Gilford Police Department in 2009. He served as a patrolman for his first two years, then was K9 officer for five years, until his dog’s death last February. He also served as field training officer for the past three years, which he said was a step toward becoming sergeant.
“It was a natural progression,” he said, adding that, since the loss of his canine companion, his goal has been to seek a promotion.
Kelley is in his 19th year with the Gilford Police Department, having started there as a patrol officer. He worked his way up, becoming a detective, then a corporal, sergeant, and lieutenant.
“I’ve been in various roles over the years, and now I’m deputy chief, as of today,” he said in an interview yesterday.
A graduate of the FBI National Academy, Kelley has been serving as Administrative Services Bureau Commander for the department, and Bean Burpee said that, together, they will continue making Gilford “the best police department in Belknap County.”
Gilford Town Clerk Denise Gonyer administers the oath of office to newly hired police officer Stephen Kessler. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)
Gilford Town Clerk Denise Gonyer administers the oath of office to Adam VanSteensburg, who has been promoted to a sergeant’s position in the Gilford Police Department. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)
Gilford Town Clerk Denise Gonyer administers the oath of office to Kristopher Kelley, the new deputy chief of the Gilford Police Department. (Tom Caldwell/Laconia Daily Sun)
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