ORONO, Maine — The U.S. Senate on Thursday afternoon confirmed the University of Maine’s top public safety official as the new U.S. marshal for Maine.
Noel March, who had been UMaine’s chief of police and public safety director for eight years, now will become the state’s highest-ranking federal law enforcement official.
Robert Dana, UMaine’s vice president for student affairs, is expected to appoint UMaine police Capt. Roland Lacroix as interim police chief effective upon March’s April 30 departure, UMaine spokesman Joe Carr said.
March said he would return to the campus after a few days off to manage security for the university’s May 8 commencement events. He expects to be sworn in sometime before Memorial Day, which will require him to fly to Washington, D.C.
March learned in December that President Barack Obama had nominated him for the position.
“I think to be the one law enforcement official out of 3,000 in our state to be elevated to this position as the person entrusted with this responsibility is humbling, flattering and an honor,” March said Thursday.
A Hampden resident, March expects, for now, to commute between federal offices in Portland and Bangor.
The U.S. marshal’s responsibilities include catching federal fugitives, protecting the federal courts, running the witness protection program and transporting federal prisoners. The marshal also oversees Maine’s Violent Crimes Task Force.
“Noel is an outstanding choice to serve as U.S. marshal for Maine,” said U.S. Sen. Susan Collins. “He is a good friend and a well-respected, and dedicated public law enforcement official. I know that his experience at UMaine will serve him well as U.S. marshal, and he will serve both our state and nation with distinction.”
March said those experiences at UMaine have involved communication and building relationships with the different groups on campus.
“This is a people business, whether we in law enforcement are working with victims, witnesses, offenders or the general public at large,” he said. “I have been fortunate to have been able to polish my skills and practice these principles with the students, faculty and staff and visitors [of] the University of Maine.”
March, a Connecticut native who has lived in Maine for more than 25 years, was one of five people put forth for the position by U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who coordinated the state’s marshal search.
Before his arrival eight years ago in Orono, March served as director of the Maine Community Policing Institute.
“This is a very important federal law enforcement position in Maine that requires experience and integrity,” Michaud said Thursday in a statement after March’s confirmation by the Senate. “The combination of his professional experience, organizational leadership and temperament make me confident that he will serve the District of Maine extremely well.”
March said in December that the U.S. marshal position is a “significant honor” for anyone in law enforcement because the U.S. Marshals Service is the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. It was launched when George Washington was president.
Meanwhile, the nomination of Maine Superior Court Justice Thomas Delahanty II of Lewiston to replace Paula Silsby as U.S. attorney for Maine is still pending before the U.S. Senate.
BDN writer Judy Harrison contributed to this report.