Alan Brown, the police chief for Southwest Harbor, died unexpectedly on Friday.
Brown was helping relatives build a deck at a family camp on Green Lake in Ellsworth when he suffered an apparent medical issue Friday morning, according to a report by Fox 22 Bangor.
Kristin Hutchins, chairman of the board of selectman in Southwest Harbor, confirmed late Friday afternoon that Brown had passed away. She said she was told about it by Justin VanDongen, Southwest Harbor’s town manager.
“Everyone here is gutted,” Hutchins said, adding that the town office closed early when staff got the news. “He was just a great guy. He is going to be missed by a lot of people.”
Brown had worked as the town’s police chief since 2015. Prior to taking that job, he had worked for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department since the early 1990s, first as a patrol deputy and then as a detective.
William Clark, who served as the county sheriff from 1981 to 2014 and is now a county commissioner, said Brown started as a contract deputy for the town of Tremont before becoming a detective for the department in the early 2000s. The news that Brown died Friday, he said, was “disturbing.”
“I was pleased when he decided to take a leadership position,” with the Southwest Harbor Police Department, Clark said. “This is absolutely tragic. He was only 51 years old.”
Jim Willis, police chief for the neighboring towns of Bar Harbor and Mount Desert, knew Brown since they were children, he said, and when they worked together at the sheriff’s department, where Willis served as a lieutenant for several years.
Willis said he had spoken with Lt. Mike Miller of the Southwest Harbor Police Department and has offered to help the agency out in Brown’s absence.
“We worked together yesterday,” Willis said, without going into detail about what he and Brown had discussed. “We’re all in shock.”