CANTON, MASS. (WHDH) - The town of the canton swore in a new police chief in a special ceremony Tuesday evening.

Helena Rafferty is only the 14th person in the town’s history to hold the title and is now the first woman in that role.

“The number 14 brings with it change, renewal and progress, and in this world, we’re living in right now, that tidbit of data brought me hope and inspiration,” she told those assembled.

The daughter of Irish immigrants and a mother of four, Rafferty has been on the force for 17 years.

She said police officers have a difficult job, but that she is proud of the force she now leads.

“The town of Canton has good officers,” she said. “Officers who will run into those school buildings – no hesitation whatsoever. Officers who have, in recent weeks, placed themselves in peril. Taking five guns and illegal guns off our streets.”

She also shared this message with the community.

“If we can acknowledge the most valuable possession we own is an open heart,” she said. “It stands to reason that the most powerful weapon we can be is an instrument of peace.”

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