QUINCY — Florence Smith wasn’t about to miss this.
Smith, 93, was one of several people in attendance Monday night to watch her grandson, Adam Yates, be sworn in as the 33rd person to be the chief of the Quincy Police Department. She also posed for photos with Yates after the meeting.
“It was really nice to see her,” Yates said after Monday’s meeting of the Quincy City Council. “It was something she’s been looking forward to. It was important for her to be here.”
Several family members and police officers filled City Council chambers Monday to see Yates sworn in by Quincy Mayor Mike Troup.
Yates, 46, has been with the Quincy Police Department for 22 years and most recently served as deputy chief of administrative services. He replaces Rob Copley, who retired May 6 after 42 years with the Quincy Police Department and 18 as the chief of police.
Yates, however, wasn’t the first choice of the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners. The three-man committee selected Jonathan Lewin, a 28-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, as its chief of police during a May 2 meeting at City Hall.
Yates became the interim chief on May 7 as contract negotiations with Lewin began. Lewin declined the appointment on May 13, and Yates was appointed to the position later that same day.
“I feel good,” Yates said. “It was a long process. It was a difficult process. Ultimately, I’m just humbled by the decision and the appointment, and I’m looking forward to continuing the work that the entire department does for its citizens.
“It’s a relief. Also, there’s a realization that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. There are a lot of challenges in law enforcement, and we need to hit those challenges head on. Now the real work begins.”
Yates is the fourth consecutive police chief — following Copley, Mike DeVoss and John Wilson — to be promoted from with the QPD ranks since Chuck Gruber, who was hired from outside the department, left the position in 1987.
Asked what his first objective to accomplish as the chief of police will be, Yates said he wants to add to the number of officers in the department. Two officers were sworn in during the June 7 City Council meeting, increasing the number of officers to 67.
“Our officers are working a tremendous amount of overtime,” Yates said. “We’re looking at some different options to try to enhance recruiting, retention and taking a load off some of the officers by bringing some more folks on board.”
Yates thanked everyone for attending, making sure to point out the co-workers in attendance.
“I’m just one person,” he said. “These are the folks who are out there every day, working hard to keep the city safe. I’m truly proud to be a part of their team.”
He also thanked his wife, Stefanie.
“She has just been my rock through everything and throughout my entire career, but especially the last six months,” Yates said.
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