The well-respected, knowledgeable and experienced Mark Sirois fastened to his shirt and collars Wednesday night the hardware that officially marks him as chief of the Johnson City Police Department.
Sirois, a 20-year department veteran, last served as a major and has served in the interim position for the past few weeks, filling in for former Chief John Lowry, who retired May 17.
“Chief Sirois was chosen from among three excellent internal candidates,” said City Manager Pete Peterson. “But his combination of experience, leadership skills and vision for the future set Chief Sirois apart as the front-runner. I am proud that we had a candidate of his caliber from within our own department.”
Sirois’ selection came after an in-depth evaluation process that included an assessment by other police chiefs from across the state, including written tests and interviews.
About two months ago, five in-house candidates were announced as finalists: Sirois, Capt. Debbie Botelho, Capt. Steve Smith, Capt. Karl Turner and Maj. Garry Younger.
Younger withdrew his application in early May. Smith did the same a few weeks ago, leaving Sirois, Botelho and Turner.
Sirois, 56, said he was honored and humbled by the opportunity.
“When I began 20 years ago, the chief’s position was never on my radar screen,” he said. “But this certainly isn’t about me alone. We have a remarkable group of men and women who comprise the Johnson City Police Department, and we all work together to provide the best service possible for our citizens. I plan to build upon the successes of the past and bring the department to an even higher level of commitment, professionalism and pride.”
The advertised pay for the position was $66,575 annually or higher, depending on experience. Sirois’ starting salary was not immediately available Wednesday.
Sirois earned his bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University before joining the JCPD in December 1991. He was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division in 1994, and was promoted to patrol sergeant the following year.
He joined the department’s Administrative Division in 1997, heading up the Planning and Research Unit. He was promoted to lieutenant in December 1999 and earned the rank of captain in January 2003. In June 2010, he was promoted to operations major, a position he held until being named interim chief on May 18.
Sirois attended the FBI National Academy in 2002 and the Southeast Command and Leadership Academy in 2004. He has been a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police since 1999 and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police since 2011.
During his tenure in Planning and Research, he successfully wrote and administered grants that brought valuable programs to the community including Weed and Seed, Cops in Shops, Project Safe Neighborhoods and many traffic and highway safety programs. He also has been active in neighborhood groups and safety initiatives, which he plans to continue as chief.
Sirois’ wife, Kay, and other family members were on hand.
When asked how she felt about her husband’s accomplishment, she said the following: “One word, I guess — wow!”