A new batch of Suffolk County police officers who have been promoted in the last year were honored Thursday at Suffolk County Community College -- including an officer from a police family and a former Marine who served in Desert Storm.
In total, 63 sworn members moved up the ranks, mostly in the patrol division. The majority were 27 patrol officers who were promoted to the rank of detective.
Chief of Patrol John Meehan, who himself was honored for his designation in January, said many of the men and women promoted were able to get through the arduous competitive process only with support from family and friends.
"I made sergeant after 12 years," said Meehan of the civil service exam tied to that promotion. "It was my fourth test. I came close a couple of times."
Police Officer Sean Rail, 40, of the First Precinct, was promoted to detective. His wife, Jane Rail, 43, is also a Suffolk County police officer and she presented her husband with his shield at the ceremony.
Rail's father, James, 77, and his father-in-law, Charles Riviello, 69, are both retired NYPD officers. The family joked that they would take up most of the stage if they all went up to present Sean with his shield.
"I really know who the boss is," Sean Rail joked afterward. "She's my wife. She made it possible through her support and . . . help."
Jane Rail works out of the Fourth Precinct's crime section. The couple met at the First Precinct in 1998. Next month they will be married for 12 years and have three children, the youngest age 2.
"It's stressful," said Jane Rail, in full uniform while holding one of her sons. "But we make it work," Sean said, finishing her sentence.
Eric D'Agostino, 42, was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant. D'Agostino, a former Marine who served during Dessert Storm, said he studied for years to pass the civil service exam.
He would study up to three hours every night for four months to pass the lieutenant's test. He ranked first in his class for the exam.
"It's very difficult to get promoted here. There's a lot of competition." D'Agostino said.
"It's very important," he said of police work. "We are like the first line of defense to this underworld that the normal . . . [civilian] doesn't see. We see it every day."
In January, the department honored 120 officers who had been promoted in 2012.
Among Thursday's 63 promotions were Inspector William Murphy, now the commanding officer of the Fourth Precinct. John Cahill, who was honored in January after being promoted to captain, was honored once again after being named a deputy inspector.
Cahill works out of the Organized Crimes Bureau. Mark Fisher of the Fifth Precinct and William Read of the Second Precinct both were promoted to deputy inspectors.