HOULTON, Maine — Law enforcement officers from throughout southern Aroostook County gathered at the Houlton Police Department on Wednesday afternoon to remember fallen colleagues as part of the department’s third annual memorial ceremony.
Houlton Police officers, U.S. Border Patrol agents, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and members of the Maine Warden Service attended the brief afternoon ceremony outside the police department building on Military Street. Members of the Houlton Fire Department watched from their nearby station house.
The event was held prior to the start of National Police Week, which runs May 15-21.
During the event, officers honored Daryl Gordon Sr, a warden pilot with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife who died in a plane crash while on patrol in Eagle Lake in March, and Delray Beach Police Department Sgt. Adam Rosenthal, a friend of Houlton Police Sgt. Fred Parker. Rosenthal, 39, was killed in a car crash on his way to work in Florida in February. More than 1,000 people attended his funeral.
The tribute for Gordon, 60, was especially important to Houlton Police Chief Butch Asselin, as his daughter, Kelly, is married to Gordon’s son, Darryl Gordon II.
During the ceremony, Asselin noted that a law enforcement officer is killed every 56 hours in the U.S. He said 154 officers died last year, and there are now 19,299 names engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Asselin told the crowd that officers “never know how their day is going to end.”
“While Maine has one of the lower violent crime rates in the nation, we are witnessing an ever increasing rate of pharmaceutical robberies, gang activity and other drug related crime,” he said. “Because we live in northern Maine, we somehow feel sheltered from what is taking place in the rest of the state. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The I-95 corridor ends here. We are only four hours away from Portland and six hours from Boston.”
The chief pointed to an incident that occurred in Houlton on March 30 involving Daniel Maccabee, a Canadian man who held police at bay for nine hours by threatening to blow up a bus at the Irving Big Stop on North Street.
“Maccabee had no ties to Maine, but he had a plan,” said the chief. “Had he had a real device strapped to his body and had he been more determined, the outcome could have been far different.”
Parker, who spoke briefly during the ceremony, recalled Sgt. Adam Rosenthal, who was a 16-year veteran of the Delray Beach Police Department. Parker was his direct supervisor for three years. He characterized Rosenthal as an “exceptional man” and an “outstanding police officer.”
He “truly cared for his fellow police officers,” said Parker. Rosenthal is survived by a wife and four children.
Asselin pegged Gordon as a man with a “contagious smile” who had a passion for flying. Although flying was something he loved dearly, the chief said, Gordon’s “true love” was his wife, Rita, and his family.
“Daryl was indeed a loving husband, father and devoted Christian,” said Asselin. “He truly brought happiness to all those that knew him.”
The ceremony ended with representatives from each branch of law enforcement reading the names of their fallen colleagues.