NEWPORT, Maine — Newport police Officer Stephen Morrell has been on the beat for only about a week, but there are few places in town he hasn’t already seen. Morrell, a 2005 Nokomis High School graduate who joined the department Oct. 7, grew up here.
In addition to his value to the force as a lifelong Newport resident, Morrell brings a host of other relevant experience to the job, said Chief Leonard Macdaid. That experience ranges from shifts he has worked in Newport as a reserve officer since 2007 to his role as a security officer for the Maine Air National Guard, including during a tour in Qatar.
“He was the best candidate,” said Macdaid, who estimated 15 people applied for the job. “He’s done very well for himself. He’s taken all the right steps to get where he is.”
Morrell’s interest in law enforcement budded when he wrote a report on the Maine State Police as a Nokomis sophomore. During his junior and senior years he enrolled in criminal justice courses at Tri-County Technical Center in Dexter. That’s where he met an influential mentor, instructor Steven Spaulding.
“He really opened my eyes and [those of] all the other students to how police work is really done,” said Morrell. “It’s not just driving fast and blue lights. There’s a lot more to it.”
With the goal of becoming a trooper for the Maine State Police, Morrell earned a bachelor’s degree in May in criminal justice from Husson College. He still aspires to be a state trooper someday, but he said he is committed to Newport for at least three years.
As for his hometown connections, they could become both a benefit and a burden, he said.
“It could be difficult if I have to deal with someone I know, but there are so many people in this town,” he said, adding that his local knowledge will be valuable during investigations.
Morrell’s hiring brings the Newport Police Department to seven full-time and seven reserve officers, said Macdaid. Morrell will earn a base salary of $31,200 per year plus benefits if he opts to take them, according to records at town hall.
“We’re really glad to have him aboard,” said Macdaid.