WESTPORT — Foti Koskinas, who immigrated to Westport from Greece with his family when he was 10, not knowing a word of English, was sworn in Thursday as chief of police, the town’s top law-enforcement job.

Koskinas, with 20 years experience on the local force, most recently as deputy chief, was promoted to succeed Dale Call, who retired after 35 years of service.

The Town Hall swearing-in ceremony underscored the importance of family for the new chief.

First, Koskinas said to his parents, “Thank you for your love and support. But more important, thank you for taking the risks and the sacrifices so you can give us, my brothers, the chance that you gave us, thank you.” The tribute earned a standing ovation.

After thanking his brothers, Koskinas turned to his wife, Christina, whom he has known since he was 16. "If there’s an MVP to be had, Chris, it’s you. I couldn’t have done it without you — you’re a great wife and a great mom," he said.

Christina Koskinas said one of the qualities she admires most in her husband is his consistency. "He was the same person then as he is now, and I am so proud of him and I always knew that he was going to be capable of great things.

“I’m so happy to see that the rest of the community can see what a great superstar he is,” she added.

The father of two became emotional as he turned to his two daughters.

"To my daughters Zoe and Phoebe, ladies, daddy loves you very much, you drive me absolutely crazy every day, but somehow at the same time, you make me very proud," he said.

Angelos Koskinas, the chief’s youngest brother who lives in Westport, said, "For me it’s great and especially for him because I think he takes a lot of pride in the fact that he is doing a service to the community that he grew up in."

Koskinas graduated from Staples High School in 1989 and went on to attend the University of New Haven, graduating in 1993 with a B.S. in criminal justice. In 1996, he joined the Police Department as a full-time officer and has since held the ranks of K-9 handler, sergeant, captain and deputy chief. In 2009, he was awarded the Connecticut Chiefs of Police Medal of valor for extraordinary heroism after he rescued a kidnap victim from an armed murder suspect.

Call and First Selectman Jim Marpe expressed confidence in Koskinas taking command of the department.

Call, who said Koskinas is also a friend, said the new chief “is the right person for the job and fully up to the challenges the future holds."

"He is a truly fine police officer and more important, a good friend. Someone with whom I’ve always shared a common view of the future of this department," he added.

Marpe said Koskinas possesses "the personal attributes and leadership qualities that are necessary to maintain the high standards we expect and receive on a daily basis from our first-class Police Department."

Capts. Samuel Arciola and Vincent Penna, both Westport natives, also were promoted at the ceremony to the rank of deputy chief.

@chrismmarquette / cmarquette@bcnnew.com