Matthew Lindahl, a decorated sergeant with the Rockland Police Department, has died after suffering a stroke. He was 44.
Lindahl, who joined the department in 1997, was recently diagnosed with cancer, the department said Saturday in a Facebook post.
“The City of Rockland has lost one of the greatest cops we’ve ever had, and a true hero,” the department said.
Lindahl held a number of different positions in his law enforcement career, including field training instructor, certified instructor for the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, crisis interdiction team member, drug recognition expert and supervisor, the department said.
“It wasn’t Matt’s training that made him so special; he was a genuinely good man, so proud of his family and completely dedicated to them. He was also the greatest practical joker in the Department, while still being a consummate professional, and his actions on duty saved lives,” the department said.
During his time with the Rockland Police Department, Lindahl was twice decorated for his efforts to save lives.
In September 2015, Lindahl and former Rockland officer Scott Redmun were presented with the department’s Meritorious Service Award for their efforts on July 15, 2015, to save the life of a man who tried to hang himself.
Lindahl arrived in time to make contact with the man, who climbed up a tree and started tying a rope around his neck, Bruce Boucher, who was then the department’s chief, said at the time. Lindahl tried to talk to the man, who said he was ready to end it all. Redmun, who became a deputy with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office in August 2015, then arrived and also attempted to talk with the man.
Before the officers could talk him down, the man jumped from the tree in an attempt to hang himself.
“Sgt. Lindahl was able to reach the male’s feet and push up on him to create slack in the rope thus allowing the male to breath,” Boucher said at the time. “The male was kicking at Sgt. Lindahl from helping him. Sgt. Lindahl did not give up and continued to assist.”
While Lindahl held the man up, Redmun was able to cut the rope, and then man was taken to Pen Bay Medical Center and eventually recovered.
In another instance, Lindahl was credited with helping to save a woman who was kidnapped off the streets of Rockland late at night on Sept. 28, 2016.
The woman was walking home from work about 11:30 p.m. Sept. 28, when Shane Hall jumped from a vehicle wearing a ski mask, grabbed the woman and put her in a chokehold until she lost consciousness.
Hall put the woman in his vehicle and drove off, but Lindahl saw the vehicle driving erratically and tried to pull it over. Hall took off, leading police on a high-speed pursuit.
The woman regained consciousness during the pursuit, called 911 and then fought Hall until he crashed the vehicle, ending the chase. Hall tried to flee on foot, but officers tackled him to the ground.
Hall sentenced in 2017 to 30 years in prison with all but 15 suspended, followed by six years probation.
“Matt hated getting those life-saving awards. We mean, HATED it. He didn’t want glory, applause or even a pat on the back. He was totally content just doing whatever it took to help people, anonymously,” the department said Saturday in the Facebook post.
Lindahl is survived by his wife and their son and daughter.