ELLSWORTH — The city will have a new police chief starting Oct. 1, and though he’ll be new to the department his face will be familiar.
City Manager Michelle Beal said Friday afternoon that Lt. Christopher Coleman, who currently leads the northern division of the Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit, will become the city’s police chief effective Oct. 1.
Coleman, a Surry resident, was previously commander of the Troop J State Police barracks in Ellsworth. Troop J covers Hancock and Washington counties. He is a 25-year veteran of the state police.
Beal said the City Council is required to vote on her appointment of Coleman, and will do so at its Sept. 15 meeting.
Beal said Coleman will bring a lot of skills to his new job from his time spent with the State Police. She said the fact that he is local and knows the area is also a plus.
“He has an understanding that we’re a growing community, but that we’re still a small city,” said Beal.
Coleman is well-acquainted with Hancock County. He grew up in Bucksport and graduated from Bucksport High School in 1986. After earning a bachelor’s degree in criminology at the University of Southern Maine, he went directly into the state police at the age of 22.
He started out as a trooper patrolling Hancock County, and after six and a half years became a detective. He was promoted to lieutenant in 2006, and after five years of leading the local barracks became the commander of the northern division of the Augusta-based Major Crimes Unit.
The Major Crimes Unit investigates homicides, suspicious deaths and child abuse cases, among others. The northern division covers two-thirds of the state’s geographic area, from Topsham to Madawaska and from Jackman to Eastport.
Coleman said he was attracted to the Ellsworth job because he sees the Ellsworth Police Department as “an outstanding organization” that is home to “dedicated people.” He noted he was worked with many of the officers in the past because of his time spent in Hancock County.
“I really feel like it’s an exciting place to be,” he said.
Coleman said he also is ready for a change from his state police post, and noted that working in Ellsworth will require him to do much less traveling for work.
Coleman said he is starting the process of retiring from the state police and looks to have the process completed by the middle of September. He said he is looking forward to starting work in Ellsworth after taking some vacation time.
Coleman was one of 22 people to apply for the Ellsworth job, which became vacant when longtime Chief John DeLeo announced his retirement earlier this year.
Beal said a six-person review committee — which included three city councilors and two representatives from the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, in addition to herself — interviewed seven of the 22 applicants during a first round of interviews.
Four candidates were called back for second interviews, and Coleman was chosen from that group. Beal said the decision was made Thursday, and she made the news public after the unsuccessful applicants were notified.
Beal said Lt. Harold Page, who has been serving as acting chief since DeLeo’s departure, will continue in that capacity until Coleman takes over in October. Page had said previously he was one of the applicants for the chief’s job.
Beal said Coleman’s salary will be determined at a later date.