BAILEYVILLE, Maine — Bob Fitzsimmons grew up with the Baileyville Police Department, so you could say his new job is something of a homecoming.
With a father who served as the town’s police chief in the 1970s, Fitzsimmons is now filling his dad’s shoes in the same position. He started his new job as police chief in May replacing former Chief Shawn Donahue, who left last fall to become the new Chief Deputy for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.
“It feels great,” Fitzsimmons said of his new job. “It’s good to be home.”
Prior to his new role, Fitzsimmons had been a sergeant with the Calais Police Department for four and a half years. Before he worked in Calais he was a warden and then a police officer for the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point for more than nine years.
Fitzsimmons grew up in Baileyville and attended Woodland High School, graduating in 1982.
He said he didn’t spend much time with his father Merle Fitzsimmons, on the job, when he was young, but remembers him coming to his elementary school to teach his class about bicycle safety. His father worked for the local police department from 1968 until 1976, the last six years as chief.
Fitzsimmons always thought about coming back to work as a police officer in his hometown, where he now walks the same beat that his father used to. The building where his father worked is long gone, replaced with a newer one.
Though very familiar with Baileyville, Fitzsimmons is adjusting to the demands of running a police department. So far, paperwork has been his biggest challenge.
“It gives me respect for my chiefs,” he said, referring to his former bosses in other municipal police departments. He said the same goes for his father, even if the desk requirements of being a police chief in the 1970s are different from today.
“I don’t think there was much [paperwork] then,” he said.