Changing of the Guard ceremony was both heartfelt, inspiring

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As family, friends and colleagues look on, Paul Toussaint is sworn in as Rochester Police Chief by city attorney Terence O'Rourke. (Lebanon Voice photos)

ROCHESTER - In a deeply emotional ceremony attended by local, county and state dignitaries, the command of the Rochester Police Department was passed on to former Deputy Chief Paul Toussaint from four-year chief Michael Allen on Wednesday.

For Toussaint, who will officially take over his new duties on Jan. 1, it was the fruition of a dream.

"I would never have dreamed that I would be here standing in front of you as this city's police chief," he said shortly after taking the oath of office from city attorney Terence O'Rourke.

Incoming Rochester Police Chief talks about his core values system and moral compass instilled in him as a child during his remarks Wednesday at the Rochester Opera House.

Toussaint choked up as he spoke of how his parents and family helped shape his core values system as a child and vowed to continue and build on successful programs like community partnerships that were forged and developed by Allen and his predecessors.

Allen, meanwhile, admitted his retiring to work in the private sector was one of the most difficult decisions of his life.

"This is a bittersweet day," Allen said. "After almost 29 years I truly struggled with my decision to leave law enforcement. I am leaving a job I truly love."

Allen will soon begin his new job at Frisbie Memorial Hospital as director of security.

Prior to the swearing in, a host of area law enforcement leaders took to the podium to heap praise on Allen for leadership as the department's chief the last four and a half years.

Outgoing Rochester Police Chief Michael Allen reflects briefly while delivering his remarks during a transfer of command ceremony at the Rochester Opera House on Wednesday.

Among those speaking were Strafford County Sheriff David Dubois, who also represented U.S. Kelly Ayotte in thanking Allen for his years of accomplishment.

Similar congratulations and thanks came from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who was represented by special assistant Christopher Scott.

The day's keynote speaker, Gov. Maggie Hassan, thanked Allen for his service and efforts to make Rochester a safe community.

"You have bravely put yourself in harm's way to keep our communities safe," Hassan said.

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