MILO, Maine — When Damien Pickel held a press conference late last month, he said that all he wanted to do was get back to work.
Pickel, 42, officially got his wish this week as the Milo police sergeant has returned to the force after being cleared of a domestic violence assault charge.
Milo Town Manager Jeff Gahagan confirmed Thursday that Pickel was reinstated at a selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday night and the sergeant returned to work Thursday morning.
The selectmen’s decision was unanimous, Gahagan said.
Pickel, a former New York City police detective who was hired as a full-time officer in Milo in October 2009, was arrested in March after his estranged wife reported that she had been assaulted by him in mid-February at their home in Dexter. He subsequently resigned from the force after being placed on unpaid administrative leave after his arrest. The Penobscot County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the domestic violence assault charge against him on July 11.
“I just want my reputation to be fixed,” Pickel said in a telephone interview Thursday. “It’s a new start for me. I am going to do the best I can do to the best job I can.”
Pickel praised the work done by his attorney, N. Laurence Willey Jr., and private investigator Hank Dusenbery, a former Maine State Police trooper. He also expressed thanks to Dexter Police Chief Jim Emerson and the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m thankful to the town of Milo for having faith in me and saying that we want you to come back,” Pickel added.
Pickel’s first day back on the force was a quiet one, he said.
“Just another day at work,” Pickel said. “[It was] a day of paperwork and getting re-familiar with the procedures and stuff that go with working in the town of Milo.”
Even though he once worked in New York City, Pickel enjoys the small-town environment that Milo has to offer.
“I fell in love with the town of Milo the minute I started working there,” he said. “It’s got a nice feel to it, a nice group of people.”
Attempts to reach Willey at his Bangor office were unsuccessful Thursday.