MILO, Maine — Milo selectmen have been so pleased with Damien Pickel’s performance since he started as a police officer in 2009 that they voted unanimously Tuesday to promote him to police chief.
Pickel, 43, who served as a New York police officer for 20 years, started his new $44,000-a-year job on Wednesday.
“He’s been the sergeant in command, he’s been very effective, he’s been doing a terrific job and we felt that it was time for us to go ahead and promote him,” Town Manager Jeff Gahagan said Thursday.
The position has been vacant since May when Kenny Wiliams resigned as police chief.
Pickel said he was pleased with the board’s offer. “I was humbled by the offer just as I was when they hired me back after what I went through,” he said Thursday. Pickel was referring to his arrest in March on a domestic violence charge, which later was dropped by the district attorney.
Pickel said the charge was an attempt by some Dexter police officers to discredit his friend Dexter Police Chief Jim Emerson.
Looking ahead to the challenge, Pickel said he wants to continue to engage in community policing, which is familiar territory to him. He wants to work closely with the school, the business community, residents and the town to be proactive in the fight against bath salts and other threats and to help keep youngsters off the streets and out of trouble.
“The town is a very caring town. It’s a town that wants to succeed and it’s not going to let a few bad apples ruin everything,” Pickel said. “Everybody has something to say about Milo, but when you actually become a part of the community, you see that it is a great place to live, it’s a great place to work and that’s its biggest asset, the community itself.”