June 23, 2018
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Bangor officials hope to pick new police chief from 6 finalists by early May

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A new police chief could be on the job in Bangor sometime in early May, according to city officials.

The city has narrowed its crop of potential candidates to six after accepting 38 applications from both in-state and out-of-state, said Assistant City Manager Bob Farrar. The chief will oversee a department with an $8 million budget, and will direct 82 sworn officers and 24 civilian employees.

In early April, the final six will each be interviewed, which could lead to a second round of interviews if needed.

“We’ll show the candidates the city, introduce them to the department heads so they see what they’re coming into,” City Manager Cathy Conlow said Tuesday.

The search drew a “nationwide response,” according to Farrar. Eight of the initial applicants were from Maine, with the other candidates coming from states across the country. Three Mainers made it through to the final six.

Farrar and Conlow declined to say whether any of the applicants were from in-house.

Former Police Chief Ron Gastia retired in September 2012. Lt. Mark Hathaway filled in for six weeks while Gastia used up remaining vacation time. Then, 25-year force veteran Peter Arno stepped in as interim chief, a post he will hold until the city taps a permanent replacement.

In the city’s job posting for the position, staff said they were “seeking a creative, energetic and innovative chief to lead our police department into the future.”

“The new chief must be a strategic thinker, an exceptional leader, a creative problem solver, and capable of planning and directing the department in a team environment,” the posting states.

The salary range will be between $70,500 and $94,800 depending on qualifications, according to the posting, and the city prefers that the police chief live in Bangor.

The posting does not outline minimum education or experience requirements because the city wanted to “cast as wide a net as possible,” according to Conlow. The call for candidates does say the police chief should “possess an extensive knowledge of progressive law enforcement practices and services, which has been acquired through verifiable work experience and education.”

The new police chief will join another recent addition to Bangor’s public safety leadership, Fire Chief Scott Lucas, who took his post in December 2012.

Lucas, 45, a 21-year firefighter, and his family came to Bangor from Michigan. Lucas was assistant fire chief for the Westland Fire Department, which serves an area with a population of approximately 84,000. He also coordinated Emergency Medical Services for that department.

He took over for former Fire Chief Jeff Cammack, who retired in February 2012 after 32 years as a firefighter and the last 15 as Bangor’s chief.

After interviews and vetting police chief candidates through background and reference checks, Conlow will make a recommendation to the council, which will decide whether to ratify her pick.

“We have a really strong applicant pool,” Conlow said. “We have had great candidates we could have pulled beyond these six. I feel this process will yield us a great police chief.”

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