KENNEBUNK, Maine — Lt. Anthony Bean Burpee is leaving the Kennebunk Police Department, accepting the position of chief in Gilford, N.H.
Bean Burpee, who lives in Sanford and has been with the KPD since 1998, was appointed by the Gilford Board of Selectmen on Monday effective June 1.
“He has been a terrific public servant, excellent administrator and great friend to many,” Kennebunk Town Manager Barry Tibbetts said.
Moving up to the ranks of chief has always been a career aspiration, Bean Burpee said. The youngest of his two sons graduating from Kennebunk High School this spring served as a catalyst to move on that goal.
“I really feel that this community, the officers here in Kennebunk, are really the best of the best,” Bean Burpee said. “This has been a really hard decision for me to make.”
Bean Burpee said he was open with Kennebunk Police Chief Bob MacKenzie and other administrators as he began applying for the leadership position at departments this winter. Bean Burpee said the Gilford Police Department was the first he interviewed with.
According to a press release issued by the Gilford Board of Selectmen Monday, Bean Burpee was selected from a pool of 47 candidates after being vetted by a citizen search panel and two Boards of Selectmen.
The department of 18 sworn officers is similar to Kennebunk, Bean Burpee said, and the town of Gilford is a close-knit community.
“It’s very much in line with what I’ve been doing for 16 years,” Bean Burpee said. “For me, personally, that’s where I will thrive, having that small agency. That’s where I think I will do well.”
Bean Burpee first started with the KPD in 1997 as a summer reserve officer and was hired as a full-time patrol officer in 1998. He worked in Kennebunk schools as the school resource officer from 2000 to 2004, then moving up to the rank of sergeant. He has served as a lieutenant, overseeing the criminal investigations unit and professional standards, since 2008.
“Being in a small agency, that advancement and that movement is sometimes limited,” Bean Burpee said. “In 16 years, I’ve accomplished quite a bit and I’m very fortunate and thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to me, and also the support. The agency and this community have always been supportive of me.”
Bean Burpee is also an adjunct professor at York County Community College, teaching criminal justice courses. While there is potential to continue teaching online for YCCC, Bean Burpee said he will teach his last class with the end of this semester.
Once he is established at the Gilford Police Department, Bean Burpee said he would like to find ways to continue teaching.
“I think education is so important and I like teaching a lot,” he said. “I’m very passionate about that. There’s some credence to being in the field currently and being in there talking to the students. For me, actually living it and doing it every day really brings it home.”
In Gilford, Bean Burpee will replace former Chief Kevin Kennan, who resigned last fall following an investigation into an affair he had with a female officer in the department. Bean Burpee said he is looking forward to helping that department move forward. He will also be involved in the town-approved renovations and construction of an addition on the police station.
“I am looking to bring back a sense of leadership and ethics and integrity to that position,” he said.
Bean Burpee is no stranger to scandal, having served as the Kennebunk Police Department’s primary point of contact for the media during a high-profile prostitution case that concluded last year. In a story covered by media outlets around the globe, local Zumba fitness instructor Alexis Wright and Thomaston businessman Mark Strong were found guilty of running a prostitution operation in the otherwise quaint seaside town, and dozens of others were convicted of being clients in the sprawling case.
Fueling the media firestorm surrounding the case were rumors that Wright had famous clients on her list of so-called johns, although a former South Portland mayor and former Portland Planning Board chairman were ultimately the highest-profile men charged.
Bean Burpee said he is looking forward to the challenges he will face as chief, but will miss the Kennebunk community and his colleagues at the Kennebunk Police Department, and is thankful for the opportunities he has had over the past 16 years.
“This community has been really great and really receptive and open and welcoming to me,” he said. “I’m going to miss that.”