BELFAST, Maine — Although 50 people from 22 states applied to be the next Belfast police chief, the department’s new leader will have a familiar face.
The committee composed of local officials and community members unanimously supported the choice of Belfast native Michael McFadden III, who worked for the Belfast Police Department for 19 years before joining the Maine State Police Computer Crimes Unit.
“He knows the real, intricate dynamics of what Belfast police officers do every day,” Belfast City Manager Joe Slocum said Tuesday. “He reflects the quality of the existing department and the quality of the community.”
The committee spent 2½ months sifting through resumes and interviewing candidates, the city manager said.
“Rather than change the department, we want to preserve the department. The department, as it exists, is really good,” Slocum said.
Although Belfast is a city of more than 6,500 people at the last U.S.
Census, it has had some high-profile crime in recent years. Former Police Chief Jeff Trafton said before leaving his position earlier this fall that two of the more dramatic cases that occurred in Belfast during his tenure were the kidnapping and attempted murder of 72-year-old Patricia Moss in 2009 and the killing of right-wing Nazi extremist James Cummings by his wife, Amber, in 2008.
“It’s a busy little city for the size,” Trafton, who now serves as chief deputy of the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office, said then.
Slocum went further.
“We’ve had unbelievable things happen here, and I think there’s really high confidence in this department,” he said. “I think that sense of community policing and security is hugely valuable to what’s going on here.”
The city manager said he wants the police department to continue its outreach toward Belfast’s elderly residents and also toward its students through the school resource officer position. He also wants the department to continue working well with other agencies, including the sheriff’s office, the Maine State Police and the U.S. Coast Guard.
McFadden, who joined the Computer Crimes Unit two yeas ago, is well-placed to do that, Slocum said.
While there, the former Belfast Police Department detective investigated Internet pornography cases.
“This is some of the most demanding work and some of the most important work a police officer can do,” he told the Bangor Daily News in 2010.
The Belfast City Council unanimously voted to formally appoint McFadden to the position of police chief during Tuesday night’s regular meeting. He is scheduled to begin work Thursday.
He spoke briefly to the councilors, telling them he would have an open-door policy and would welcome hearing their concerns and feedback.
“I’m pretty confident that we’re going to continue to do great things,” McFadden said.