BANGOR, Maine — As Maine State Police Col. Robert Williams and Lt. Col. Raymond Bessette inspected troopers, officers and detectives who cover the state from Newport north Tuesday morning, 16 retirees looked on from the side.
“When they came to attention — I did too,” Bob Bragg of Ellsworth, who started with the state police in 1987 and retired after more than 21 years in 2008, said as the inspection took place. “I just enjoy seeing them all dressed up.”
Bangor resident Larry Hall, who put on his blue state police uniform in 1975 and wore it for 20 years, said he never was nervous during inspections because he and his fellow co-workers always kept their equipment and uniforms in tip-top shape.
“You did that stuff because that is what you’re supposed to do,” said Hall, who worked all over the state and retired as a homicide detective. “These fellows look like they’re the same. They’re proud to be a part of it.”
Troop E in Bangor, Troop J in Ellsworth, Troop F in Houlton and the Major Crimes Unit North — the detectives — gathered at the Maine Air Guard base in Bangor for their annual inspection, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. Retirees also are invited to the inspections.
“Everyone in the northern one-third of the state is here,” McCausland said after taking photos of the men and women standing in formation. “The state is cut into thirds. Last week we did an inspection in Portland and one in Augusta and this is our final inspection.”
Maj. Chris Grotton and Maj. Gary Wright inspected each of the 100 or so vehicles parked behind the state police personnel.
In years past, each of the state’s 10 troops were individually inspected, but that changed last year, when Williams decided to consolidate, McCausland said. Ten members of the Maine State Police Pipe and Drum Unit, made up of various units, kicked off the inspection with a little music.
As the inspections have moved north, “their ranks have increased,” McCausland said of the retirees.
“The guys in uniform like to see them and vice versa,” he said. “If you listen to them long enough, you’ll hear an incredible amount of war stories.”
“We can dispel some of the lies,” retired trooper Hank Dusenbery, who started in 1979 and retired in 2003, jokingly piped in.
Dave Preble, who started in 1988 and was a detective for 12 years, retired in February after working security for the governor for seven years. He said seeing the men and women he worked with is why he attended.
“It’s the camaraderie,” said Preble, who is from Charleston.
Both Preble and Dusenbery worked with the new command staff for Troop E and the Major Crimes Unit North, who both have more than 20 years experience and will be sworn in at 2 p.m. at the Bangor barracks.
Sgt. Sean Hashey is Troop E’s new lieutenant, replacing retiring Lt. Wes Hussey, and Sgt. Troy Gardner is the new lieutenant of the northern Major Crimes unit, succeeding Lt. Christopher Coleman, who also retired and is now the Ellsworth police chief.