LINCOLN, Maine — With his wife’s search for a job in the area unsuccessful, Police Chief Scott Minckler will resign effective Jan. 30 to return to Massachusetts, he said Wednesday.
The difficulty in being away from his wife, Jennifer, a financial analyst, and their 1½-year-old daughter, Alexa — and of maintaining two households — left Minckler with no choice but to return to the Bay State, he said. The family had been split between Maine and Massachusetts since his hiring in March 2010.
“It’s tough now that she [Alexa] is starting to talk. When she is asking where Daddy is, that’s the tough part,” Minckler said. “I enjoyed my time here. I think we have a very good department. I am going to miss it. I am going to miss the officers, and I will miss the work. I don’t have a job yet in Massachusetts, which also makes it difficult.”
Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said she regretted Minckler’s decision, as he had performed very well as Lincoln’s chief, but understood his reasoning.
“Everybody wants to be with their family. They don’t want to be apart,” Goodwin said Wednesday. “He did a very nice job for the town of Lincoln.”
Minckler, 31, commands a department of six full-time officers and several part-timers. His resignation is the department’s second this month. Sgt. Patty McLaughlin resigned effective Dec. 20 to take a job as a Penobscot County sheriff’s deputy.
A former sergeant in the police force of Northfield, Mass., Minckler was that town’s acting police chief from 2008 to 2009 and also worked for the Massachusetts towns of Hubbardston, Chatham and Bernardston, Goodwin has said.
He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Westfield (Mass.) State College and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Academy.
Minckler replaced Police Chief William Flagg, who left the department in late August 2009.
Goodwin said she hopes to fill his position in March and will name a temporary chief when Minckler leaves. Fire Chief Phil Dawson, a retired state trooper, has been interim police chief twice before.
Officer Glenn Graef has handled some of McLaughlin’s scheduling duties since she left, Minckler said.
The Police Department has had regular turnover for several years, with the full-timers’ roster seldom completely filled and many new officers on it, a situation that has frustrated Goodwin somewhat, she said.
Of the next police chief, she said, “I am hoping that we can find somebody who wants to have a long-term relationship with Lincoln.”
Of the officers who have left, she said, “I think they are always looking to better themselves. If there is a higher wage or better benefit package, they are going to follow that. Lincoln has been a training ground.”
However, Lincoln’s wages are in line with those offered by police departments covering towns of similar size, Goodwin noted.
The next-closest police department in size and geography, Millinocket’s, has had similar turnover problems, though East Millinocket’s force, which also covers Medway, has been relatively stable.