BPD promotes 35 to higher duty

Patrick Champagnie and his wife Rhonda pose with Mayor Marty Walsh and Commissioner Evans at the Boston Police Department Promotional and Rating Ceremony at Florian Hall on Thursday.  Photo courtesy Sgt. Mike McCarthyPatrick Champagnie and his wife Rhonda pose with Mayor Marty Walsh and Commissioner Evans at the Boston Police Department Promotional and Rating Ceremony at Florian Hall on Thursday.  Photo courtesy Sgt. Mike McCarthy

His wife slipped the badge, hung on a small chain, over Patrick Champagnie’s neck. Smiling, the couple turned and posed for a photo with the mayor and police commissioner, looking out into the crowd at their twin teenage sons. With the badge on his chest, it was official–Champagnie is a Boston police detective.

“This is another step, as far as I’m concerned,” said Det. Champagnie, a Morton Street native and 20-year member of the department.

Champagnie was one of 35 members of the Boston Police Department honored in a promotion ceremony last Thursday afternoon that packed Florian Hall with proud spouses, prim-looking children, and more than a few babies who bounced on family members’ laps. All told, the honorees represented 671 years of service, with an average of 19 years on the job so far for each new lieutenant, sergeant, sergeant detective, and detective.

“The Boston Police Department is the first in the nation and always striving to be the best it can be,” said Boston Police Superintendent-in-Chief Willliam G. Gross. “This is just taking another step.”

Police Commissioner William Evans, Gross, and Mayor Martin Walsh were on hand to deliver speeches, present certificates, and watch as family members pinned and placed badges onto their loved ones’ chests.
Champagnie is assigned to the C-11 detective unit stationed on Gibson Street in Fields Corner, where he will conduct investigations into crimes such as burglaries and assaults.

“Detective stuff,” he said.

For the last 14 years, Champagnie has investigated drug crimes in the department’s drug unit. With the new role, “I’ll be continuing my investigations–basically what I’ve been doing over the last 14 years. We’re just making it official,” he said with a smile.

Walsh praised the sacrifices made by the officers’ family members, something that “until I became mayor of the city of Boston, I didn’t really know what that meant.”

Champagnie’s twin 13-year-olds Preston and Tristan flanked their father after the ceremony. The oldest son, 19, couldn’t make the ceremony due to his studies at Bryant University.

Even before he joined the police department 20 years ago, Champagnie sought to serve his community, beginning by joining the Marines. He still lives in the area.

“It’s always been a passion of mine. I did it serving in the military and then when I came home,” he said. “Just being a police officer, to me, this is my chance to give back to the community.”

Now, as a detective, Champagnie and his counterparts in the department’s leadership will be counted on to help bring the department forward.

“You will help continue to bring down violence and chance the discussion on the streets,” Walsh told the group. “Not about crimes, but how do we make our communities better.”

It’s something Champagnie anticipates and embraces.

“I will continue to do my best for the community and I expect to be held accountable.”