PI narrows candidates for police chief to 3

Posted Feb. 17, 2011, at 11:32 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — City Manager Jim Bennett said he hopes to present the name of a candidate to serve as the next chief of the Presque Isle Police Department by the end of the month.

The city has been looking for a new chief since Naldo Gagnon, the former chief, ended his 31-year tenure with the department on Nov. 12. He spent 14 years of that time as chief.

Gagnon resigned to start a new career as the chief deputy for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department. He said that he decided to make the move to be closer to his children, all of whom live in southern Maine.

Bennett said during a recent interview that a hiring committee advertised and pored over about nine applications before identifying three applicants to interview.

Bennett said he could not comment on where the applicants are from.

“I think that the committee is happy with the interest that they received,” he said. “I am hoping that I will be able to present the council with a candidate by the end of the month. After that, if the council approves the individual, we can move forward with the hiring process.”

During his tenure in Presque Isle, Gagnon was directly involved with the design, building and completion of an upgraded public safety building that now houses the police and fire departments.

He also advanced the department’s investigation of domestic violence cases and worked to secure Hunter, a bloodhound tracking dog, and Dozer, a drug-detecting black Lab. He also worked to curb drug offenses in Aroostook County by having a Presque Isle officer serve with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

Presque Isle police Sgt. Laurie Kelley has been serving as interim chief since Gagnon’s departure.

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