BANGOR, Maine — Garry Higgins has seen just about everything in his 28 years as a police officer.
The longtime Bangor police sergeant, who assumed a variety of duties over his career, has announced his retirement from the force.
“I’ll miss everybody a lot,” Higgins said Thursday morning. “I’ve had a great career here. I’ve been given all sorts of opportunities and I’ve met some really great people. I’m going to miss them all.”
Higgins said he is joining the Penobscot County district attorney’s office as an investigator.
“The timing was perfect,” he said. “I applied for it and they offered me the job and it all worked out pretty well.”
In his new role with the district attorney’s office, Higgins will be assisting prosecutors on cases.
“It’ll be a different type of job with a different challenge and I’m looking forward to it,” the sergeant said.
Higgins came to Maine from Pennsylvania, joining the Orono police force in 1985 after serving four years in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Higgins worked in Orono from 1985-88 before coming to Bangor. He was promoted to the role of sergeant in 1997.
He said law enforcement duties have certainly changed from the time he began his career.
“I remember when I was first starting off, we got all excited about catching somebody with a joint,” he said. “Now, you can’t even spend time on that stuff anymore, we’re spending time on the bath salts.”
Interim Police Chief Peter Arno called Higgins a professional who always got the job done no matter what the case entailed.
“Garry was a go-to guy,” Arno said. “If there were a case that we needed solved Garry was the the resident junkyard dog that would dedicate whatever time was necessary to solve a case.”
In addition to his role with the police department, Higgins has been of service to the local community, as he ran the Police Athletic League basketball program in Brewer in the 1990s for three years.
Higgins’ other roles with the police department included work in the criminal investigation division, Penobscot County Major Crimes task force, U.S. Attorney’s Office as an investigator for Violent Crimes task force and the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.
One case that sticks out in Higgins’ mind was the armed robbery of the Country Hospitality Inn in Bangor in July 1994. Two men wound up being sent to jail.
“That was the first time I got to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and also the district attorney’s office,” he said. “That was a really fun case to work.”
Arno said Higgins will be missed.
“If you were able to poll the crime population out there and they had a choice of someone wouldn’t want chasing them down my guess is Garry would be at the top of the list,” Arno explained.
Friends and colleagues are welcome to celebrate Higgins’ career with a coffee gathering at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 12, in the second-floor classroom of the police station on Main Street.
“Hopefully I’ll see a lot of the old cronies,” Higgins said. “It’ll be both happy and sad.”
Higgins added he’s looking forward to having weekends off to spend with his wife, Barbara, their three grown children and four grandchildren.