scorecardresearch Skip to main content

Boston police hold promotion ceremony for detectives and officers

Phillip Terenzi and his family appeared with Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Commissioner William B. Evans. Andy Rosen/Globe Staff

When Boston police last year shared the story of an off-duty officer who stopped on the side of a highway to help a sick child, the department did not include the man’s name, describing him as a humble man who wanted no credit.

But on Wednesday, there was no hiding from the spotlight for Phillip Terenzi, as he was promoted to captain after nearly 40 years with the department. Terenzi was one of 37 members of the force who took part in a ceremony at Florian Hall in Dorchester to mark their advancements in rank.

At the ceremony, Police Commissioner William B. Evans said those being promoted deserve a share of the credit for the performance of an agency seeing a homicide rate that reached a 10-year low last year.


“I think we all know how difficult this job is now. We read about it every day — the scrutiny we’re under. But we continue to go out there every day and do a tremendous job,” he said. “When you look across the country and see that violence is spiraling out of control, I think we’re on the forefront of what everybody wants to be.”

Among the participants in the ceremony were two newly minted sergeants following in the footsteps of relatives. Brian R. Dunford is the son of Robert P. Dunford, a former superintendent in chief, and Matthew Spillane’s father is a lieutenant who goes by the same name, officials said.

In addition, Donna M. Gavin received a promotion to lieutenant, a milestone that comes as she assumes a key role leading the department’s Human Trafficking Unit. She is returning to the group after several months as a shift commander in the department’s Jamaica Plain district office.

She said she’s eager to attack the issues of sex trafficking and crimes against children.


Terenzi, who was one of three captains promoted, is taking over the agency’s 911 call center. The former city harbormaster — a police position held by the leader of the Harbor Patrol — stood onstage to be pinned at the ceremony by his children, Molly and Matthew, along with his mother, Eleanor .

“It’s quite a good feeling,” he said.

Andy Rosen can be reached at