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Hillsborough residents, community leaders and police chiefs from throughout San Mateo County gathered in Hillsborough’s town hall today for the swearing-in of the city’s new police chief. Capt. Mark O’Connor, 52, who has served in the Hillsborough Police Department as a K-9 officer, a sergeant, lieutenant and captain, received the oath of office from his brother, the city’s outgoing Police Chief Matt O’Connor.
In his remarks to the audience, City Manager Anthony Constantouros said that O’Connor consistently placed the “needs of the organization and the needs of his employees” above his own, and that the South San Francisco native “has been preparing his whole life” for the role of police chief. There was standing room only in the town hall, where dozens of police chiefs and officers from Peninsula cities joined fire chiefs, the district attorney, town council members, and U.S. Secret Service agents from San Francisco and San Jose. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but this is about the safest I’ve ever felt in my life,” Hillsborough Mayor Tom Kasten said.
Before starting a career in law enforcement with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office in 1985, O’Connor held jobs as a beer truck driver, a welder, and a florist. “I was a florist,” O’Connor said, drawing laughs from the audience. He said that flower arranging taught him about customer service, marketing, product placement and problem solving. O’Connor thanked his brother for his leadership and mentoring, and said he hoped to continue the tradition of leading the police force through future changes and innovations. The badge of office was pinned on O’Connor’s uniform by his son, Jim, who afterward gave him a big hug. “There’s nothing I could be more honored to be than your chief,”
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