Caribou Police Chief Michael W. Gahagan was named the 47th president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association at the Association’s annual meeting held on Sept. 15, at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center.
Gahagan has been with the Caribou Police Department since 1973 and was promoted to chief of police in 2005. He previously worked his way up through the ranks, first as sergeant and then as lieutenant with the department. In 2004, he served as interim police chief for the town of Limestone for one year. Gahagan was also a volunteer firefighter with the Caribou Fire Department for 26 years and retired as an honorary member.
“I see this as a great honor,” Gahagan said shortly after becoming president of the association. “This is the first time a police chief from Caribou will serve as president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association. I have given a lot of thought to this fact as well as spending time reflecting on the weight of this position — it is very humbling for me.”
Gahagan holds an associate’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Maine at Presque Isle and an executive certification with the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.
He has been a member of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association since 2002, the International Chiefs of Police since 2005 and the International Law Enforcement Association since 1977.
A member of Maine’s ATV Enforcement Grant Committee and a deputy sheriff with the Aroostook County Sheriffs Department, Gahagan is co-chairman of the Aroostook Substance Abuse Prevention Advisory Committee and the Aroostook Council for Healthy Families and sits on the Power of Prevention Board in his district.
In 1995, Gahagan received the Governor’s Award for alcohol and drug prevention education and, in 2008, he received both the Silver Spike Award from the Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group and the Bridge Award from the Aroostook Substance Abuse Prevention program.
“I hope to be able to bring some of what we have here in northern Maine to southern Maine,” said Gahagan. “Here, we have the tendency to see the problem — then work to fix it. We use the common sense approach — it may seem a little naive, but to just keep talking about a problem won’t take care of it. If we work together using collaboration, coordination and communication,” Chief Gahagan stressed, “any type of issue can be solved.”
Gahagan has lived in Caribou all of his life and comes from a family where public service is a way of life. His father, Arnold, worked for the city of Caribou for 43 years, retiring as fire chief; his oldest bother, Arnold ‘Arnie,’ retired from the Maine State Police after 28 years of service and now works for the Aroostook County District Attorney’s office as a victims’ advocate; his sister, Patti, is the wife of Limestone-Fort Fairfield Fire Chief Paul Durepo; and his youngest brother, Danny, is with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.