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Posthumous appointment approved for slain MIT officer

Sean Collier was shot to death, allegedly by a suspect in the Marathon bombings.

MIT/AFP/Getty Images

Sean Collier was shot to death, allegedly by a suspect in the Marathon bombings.

The fourth person killed in the violence that consumed the Boston Marathon and the days that followed, MIT police Officer Sean Collier, won approval Friday for his posthumous appointment to the Somerville Police Department.

“There you go, signed,” said Governor Deval Patrick, putting his pen to a law that permits Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone of Somerville to appoint the slain officer a member of the department.

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Collier’s shooting death occurred hours after the FBI released photos of the suspects in the April 15 Marathon bombings, though in the hours immediately after his death in Cambridge, the connection to the alleged bombers was unclear.

A former volunteer sergeant with the Somerville Auxiliary Police, Collier was due to join the Somerville police before his life was cut short.

“Other than the day my dad died, Sean’s death has affected me more than anything else that’s ever happened in my life,” said Deputy Police Chief Mike Cabral, who sponsored Collier during a period when Cabral served as acting chief. “We’re going to present Sean with a Somerville police badge” either over the summer or in September, he said.

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“Sean would speak with me about being a Somerville police officer, on numerous occasions sought advice,” Cabral said. “He was excited about going through the process and fulfilling his dream of being a Somerville police officer.”

Family members of the 27-year-old Wilmington man attended the bill signing and did not speak to the media afterward.

The Somerville delegation — state Representatives Denise Provost, Timothy J. Toomey, and Carl M. Sciortino Jr., and state Senator Patricia D. Jehlen — attended the signing, as did Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, Attorney General Martha Coakley, and numerous other state and local officials.

“I think this is an unprecedented event,” said Jehlen, tears welling. “We are so grateful and honored that you chose our community.”

The move to appoint Collier to the department began soon after his death, and Friday marked a major step toward allowing that to happen.

“It’s a small way for us to say we’re not just going to forget Sean,” said Curtatone. “We’re going to celebrate his service and sacrifice to the community.”

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