BUCKSPORT, Maine — The town will have a new police chief this month, but it will be a familiar face.
Town councilors last week named Detective Sgt. Sean Geagan as the new police chief. Geagan has been the acting chief since December and will officially replace Chief Douglas Gray, who is retiring.
Geagan was chosen from 30 candidates who applied for the job and four applicants whom the search committee interviewed. According to Town Manager Roger Raymond, the field was very competitive and Geagan competed very well. In addition, Raymond said, the council knew him.
“He has been with the department for 20 years,” he said. “He knows the department and [the council] knows he’s a hard worker and that he will put every effort in his power to make this work and to be a good chief.”
Raymond noted that councilors like to promote from within and to give people in-house the chance for advancement if they have earned it.
“He’s demonstrated to them during 20 years as a town employee that he deserves that chance,” he said.
Geagan started his law enforce-ment career in Bucksport and has had his eye on the chief’s post for much of that time. He told Chief Gray that during his interview in 1989.
“He asked me what my goals were and I said I wanted to have his job,” Geagan said Monday. “I re-member he jokingly started to take off his badge and tell me I could have it right then. But that was a goal I set for myself 20 years ago, to be chief of police here in Buck-sport.”
Over the last 20 years, he has taken numerous courses that have prepared him for the post, most recently completing the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Develop-ment course.
“That’s what you have to do,” he said. “It’s about having a goal and knowing what you need to do to reach that goal.”
Geagan is a Bangor native. He graduated from Bangor High School and the University of Maine with a degree in criminal justice. He started in Bucksport as a part-time patrol officer in 1989.
“I was walking Main Street handing out parking tickets,” he said. “That was when Main Street was dirt — they were repaving the road. Then I’d go out back and check for overweight trucks.”
He became a full-time patrol of-ficer in 1990 and graduated from the police academy in 1991. In 2001, he was promoted to detective sergeant, second-in-command at the department.
He said his rise up through the ranks would help him as chief.
“I feel fortunate for having gone from the ground up as far as the department goes,” he said. “I’ve done every position we have.”
Geagan and his wife, Kim, moved to Bucksport shortly after he started with the department. They have two sons.
“I like this town. I like the people and I like the atmosphere,” he said. “It’s a great little town to live in and to raise kids in.”
Geagan said he is looking for-ward to his stint as the police chief.
“I’ve got a good bunch of guys to work with,” he said. “With the right structure, we can get a lot done. I’m looking forward to it.”
There will be changes in the department, he said, some driven by the Town Council and the priorities it sets, some driven by the fact that there is a different person in the position.
“Obviously, there will be some changes just because I am who I am. I’m kind of particular on how I think we should do things,” he said. “But I don’t think we need to flip the building over. We have a good foundation, and I want to build on that foundation.”
Geagan said he hopes to make the department more proactive in its operations.
His one-year appointment as chief will begin officially on June 15.