BUCKSPORT, Maine — Douglas Gray, who served as the local police chief for 29 years, passed away Monday at his home.
He was 69 years old.
Gray was a Stonington native who, after working for a few years on an ocean-going research vessel, got his start in law enforcement in his hometown in 1973, according to his obituary. He started with the Bucksport Police Department in 1976 as a patrolman and rose quickly through the ranks, becoming chief in 1980.
Roger Raymond, who served as Bucksport’s town manager for 27 years, remembered Gray on Friday as a quiet but dedicated man who transformed the department into a true community law enforcement agency. The two men worked together in Bucksport from 1985, when Raymond started as town manager, until 2009 when Gray retired.
Raymond said Gray had been in declining health. He said he had seen the former chief only a few weeks ago but still was surprised to hear of his passing so soon after they had talked.
When Gray became chief, the department focused mostly on traffic control, Raymond said. Over the years Gray established direct links to Bucksport’s schools, with the encouragement of his staff, by creating a school resource officer position and by establishing a local D.A.R.E. program, he said. Gray also created a detective position in the department, he said.
“Doug was an extremely dedicated chief to the community,” said Raymond, who is now the town manager in Hermon.
Raymond said the low turnover rate in the department was a testament to Gray’s leadership ability. Gray stressed teamwork in the department and was not afraid to delegate responsibilities, he said.
“He knew how to pick good people to work for him,” said Raymond.
One of them, current Chief Sean Geaghan, worked under Gray for 20 years before taking over the reins of the department upon Gray’s retirement, Raymond noted.
Geaghan said Friday that he first started working for Gray in his early 20s. When he interviewed for a patrolman position, he said, he told the chief he aspired to have his job — and got a funny response.
“He actually tried to give me his badge that day,” Geaghan chuckled.
The current chief called Gray a “gentle giant” who took a strong position against domestic violence and emphasized outreach to the town’s youth. He said that after Gray retired, the former chief was generous with his time whenever Geaghan called for advice.
“I certainly owe him my career,” Geaghan said. “You couldn’t ask for a better boss. He’ll be sadly missed.”
According to his obituary, a memorial service for Gray will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, June 27, at the Performing Arts Center of Bucksport Middle School, located at 100 Miles Lane.