BANGOR, Maine — A nationwide search for a new police chief that attracted 38 candidates ended with the announcement Tuesday that a 25-year veteran of the Bangor force has been appointed to the job.
Lt. Mark Hathaway, who leads the department’s bomb squad, has been selected by City Manager Cathy Conlow to run the city’s police force, she announced.
Hathaway, 47, will become Bangor’s 29th police chief pending his approval by the City Council. He will oversee a department with an $8 million budget and direct 82 officers and 24 civilian employees. His annual salary will be $85,893, plus benefits.
“Living in Bangor gives me a sense of what the problems are,” he said Tuesday, sitting at his desk on the third floor of the police station after the announcement.
He spoke about problems within the city, from fights to loud parties to drug abuse, and said he wanted residents to know he understands the issues and will work to address them.
“I’m sincere when I say I really do want to fix these issues throughout the whole city, not just in particular pockets,” Hathaway said. “I want everybody in this city to know we are aware of their problems.”
Hathaway started his law enforcement career as a patrol officer in Veazie, a job he took while still attending Orono High School, from which he graduated in 1984.
“I was actually a senior in high school when I started at Veazie police department,” Hathaway said. “This is all I’ve ever done.”
After Veazie, Hathaway worked as an officer in Biddeford before he was hired by the Bangor Police Department in 1987. He was promoted to sergeant in 2001, and became a detective sergeant before earning the rank of lieutenant in 2003.
Hathaway was given a six-week trial run with the top job last fall when selected to be interim chief between the retirement of Chief Ron Gastia and the return of retired Deputy Chief Peter Arno, who took the temporary leadership post for a six-month period to allow the city time to find a permanent replacement.
After being relieved of the interim post, Hathaway was appointed the department’s interim deputy chief.
Hathaway is an FBI National Academy graduate with certifications in hostage negotiation, accident reconstruction, emergency medical dispatch and homicide investigation, and he is supervisor of the department’s bomb squad, according to Conlow.
“Mark possesses the broad knowledge, experience and professionalism the city was searching for to lead the department,” she said Tuesday in the news release. “His extensive career in Bangor positions him well to build on the department’s strengths and to move the department forward.”
Arno, a 25-year Bangor police veteran whose last day on the job is Friday, said he is very pleased with Hathaway’s selection.
“Having worked with Mark Hathaway for the past 25 years, I can honestly say that he is one of the most focused and dedicated law enforcement officers that I have ever met,” Arno said. “His knowledge of the Bangor Police Department and the city of Bangor make him uniquely qualified for the position of chief. I am extremely pleased with Chief Hathaway’s appointment and I am confident that he will lead this department in a positive direction.”
Hathaway’s counterparts in the region — Brewer Police Chief Perry Antone, Veazie Police Chief Mark Leonard, Sheriff Glenn Ross and Deputy Chief Troy Morton of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office — each voiced approval of the longtime officer’s appointment.
“I think it’s a wonderful choice for a whole host of reasons,” Antone said. “Mark Hathaway has been a longtime command officer within the Bangor Police Department and certainly possesses the skills and the knowledge to move that department forward.
“Personally, I can’t think of a better choice,” the Brewer chief said. “I think he’s going to do a wonderful job and he has the complete support of me, as a chief, and my department.”
Ross said it was a “very good choice” and added that all four candidates who interviewed for the job are respected law enforcement personnel.
“He’s always been a professional and I think the city of Bangor is very fortunate,” the sheriff said. “I’m always pleased when someone from inside [a department] is hired to fill the void.”
Bangor’s choice for chief is an important one for the Sheriff’s Department because about half of those brought to the county jail are arrested in Bangor.
“I think he’s shown himself throughout his career to be someone who is mild-mannered and shown cooperation,” Ross said. “I think he’s going to be somebody who will be well respected by his peers.”
Morton said Hathaway is “a good guy. He’ll do a great job.”
“It’s great news for us,” the deputy chief said. “I think it will be a great fit for the department and will work with other agencies.”
Bangor’s newly appointed chief started his career in law enforcement with the Veazie Police Department, but it was before the current chief’s time.
“He’s an excellent person. He’ll do an excellent job,” Veazie police Chief Mark Leonard said after learning the news.
Hathaway said partnering with other police agencies is an important part of the chief’s job.
“There is no police department anywhere that can do this job alone,” he said. “Law enforcement has become a collaborative effort. If we have a serious situation, we will be calling in our partners. If someone needs our help, we’ll respond, as well.”
Hathaway was picked from a pool of 38 applicants, eight of whom were from Maine, according to Conlow. Four finalists, including Hathaway and two others from Maine, were interviewed earlier this month in Bangor.
“Those involved with the interview process were impressed with his experience, passion and accomplishments, and those who know and have worked with Mark have been very supportive of his candidacy,” Conlow said.
Hathaway’s appointment is subject to City Council approval during its May 13 meeting. He’s scheduled to formally take his post on May 14, pending that approval.
“I have virtually done every job in the building here,” Hathaway said. “To me, that’s important. I think to the folks who work here that’s important.”