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Watertown city police lieutenant retiring, two officers promoted

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A city police lieutenant will retire Monday after serving in the department for 22 years.

Lt. Richard C. Wood also served as community policing officer for five years and received three awards during his career.

Lt. Wood was named Officer of the Year in 2001 and received the Meritorious Service Award in 1994 for his help during a fire on State Street. He received the Life Saving Award in 2006 for rescuing teenagers from the Black River behind Jefferson Community College. Lt. Wood also helped many police officers move up the ranks over the years.

With Lt. Wood’s retirement, City Manager Sharon A. Addison and interim Police Chief Gary R. Comins announced that Sgt. Michael J. LaBarge will be promoted to lieutenant, effective Monday.

Sgt. LaBarge began his career in 1998 as a police officer, was promoted to sergeant in 2008 and has served as administrative sergeant.

During his career, he received an Honorable Service Award for responding to an armed robbery and carjacking standoff and the Life Saving Award for his actions at a fire off Coffeen Street.

He is certified in many areas, including crisis negotiation and instructing at the police academy.

To replace him, Officer Jason J. Badalato will be promoted to sergeant, effective Monday.

With the department since 2000, he was named field training officer in 2004 and became a DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education)/juvenile aid officer in 2007. He was named Officer of the Year in 2009.

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