After Ed Nook took the oath as a newly promoted police sergeant Monday, he knelt down so that his two young sons, Edward and Zachary, could pin his new badge to his uniform.

Nook, who had been a detective, said he took the Police Department's promotional exam to "become part of the future of this department, to be part of the solution and not the problem, and for the pride and betterment of the department and my family."

He was one of four police officers promoted during a ceremony held at the Fairfield Senior Center.

Officer Michael Paris was also promoted to sergeant, while Officers Anthony Vaspasiano and George Buckmir were promoted to detective.

Police Chief Gary MacNamara said the new badges the officers receive when they are promoted is "the most important, and most overlooked, part of the ceremony.

It is the badge, he said, that individualizes officers, but also connects them to the community, the department and law enforcement everywhere. Badge numbers are not retired, but are used with each new generation of officers.

"Each badge number represents the history of our department," MacNamara said, "Each officer becomes a part of the legacy of the history of those who wore the badge before them."

It is, he said, a symbol of authority, but also a symbol of trust. What the community may not see, however, MacNamara said, is the sacrifices the officers and their families make for the job, and when they decide to study to take a promotional exam.

Paris, a graduate of Notre Dame High School, was hired in 2001 as a telecommunicator in the dispatch center, where he worked five years before being hired as a police office. He is a field training officer, and serves on the department's Honor Guard. Paris was recently assigned to the State Police Urban Violence Task Force and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force.

His father, Chuck Paris, a sergeant in the Bridgeport Police Department, pinned on his son's new badge.

A Long Island native, Nook is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and was hired by the Fairfield department in 1999. He has been a member of the bicycle and motorcycle units, and served 10 years with the Emergency Services Unit. Nook is also a field training officer and became a detective in 2000.

Vaspasiano is a 13-year veteran of the department and a graduate of Salve Regina University. For the past eight years, he has been a member of the dive team and an alternate member of the marine unit. Vaspasiano is a founding member of the department's crisis intervention team, and since February, has been assigned to the detective bureau, focusing on burglaries.

Buckmir began his tenure with the department in 1999, and has served on the bicycle unit, and as DARE officer. In addition, he has served as a field training officer, a school safety officer, and a member of the crisis intervention team.

"This is a very important moment," First Selectman Michael Tetreau said. "This is tremendous. When you look back on our police department and what they've been able to do, be it a storm, a train crash ... This is a different world than it ever has been."