From left to right: Bucksport police officers Ryan Knight, David Winchester, Sean Geagan and Eric Marcel. Last week, Geagan was sworn in as the president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association. PHOTO BY DAVID ROZA

Bucksport police chief becomes president of Maine Chiefs of Police

BANGOR — Bucksport Police Chief Sean Geagan was sworn in as the 53rd president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association at a special banquet held at the Hollywood Casino Hotel last Thursday, becoming the first Bucksport policeman to hold the office.

As president, Geagan now heads an organization that includes over 350 active and retired law enforcement officers across the state. His task is to lead efforts to strengthen the ties between departments and enhance the standards of policing in Maine.

For Geagan, the position marks a major achievement in his 28-year policing career. After thanking his family and his colleagues, the Bangor native gave a shout-out in his speech to his adopted home of Bucksport, where he has worked for most of his adult life.

“In the summer of 1989, I graduated from college and landed in the little town of Bucksport,” Geagan said before an audience of about a hundred people, including active and retired policemen and their spouses and colleagues. “Little did I know how big that little town really was.”

Bucksport had a strong presence at the banquet, including the mayor, the town manager, the town clerk, the superintendent of RSU 25, the fire chief and several Bucksport police officers.

Geagan recalled how he started work as a reserve officer handing out parking tickets before being hired as a full-time patrol officer.

In 2001, he was promoted to sergeant, and in 2009 he was promoted to chief. Five years later, Bucksport changed forever when the town’s primary industry, the Verso paper mill, shut down.

“It was certainly time for the town to sink or swim,” Geagan said. “I can tell you we have some of the best swim teams I’ve ever seen.”

The town’s continued economic stability, Geagan said, is evidence that “when you have a great team put their minds together, anything’s possible.”

For the police chief, it seems that his fellow officers in the association also form one of those teams. That should come in handy as they face new challenges in Maine policing.

“Professional law enforcement has changed drastically over the past 28 years,” Geagan said.

As evidence, he pointed to a 2015 law that allows Mainers to carry concealed handguns without a permit. He also mentioned last year’s statewide referendum, where Mainers voted to legalize the recreational use and sale of marijuana.

Geagan said police departments across the state are also struggling to recruit new officers. But despite the challenges, the chief said that policemen and women in Maine continue to serve their communities with distinction.

“How often do you see the state of Maine’s law enforcement in the national news coming under fire for issues?” he asked.

“The answer is you don’t. This is due to the state having one of, if not the best training facilities in the country.”

“We have well-trained officers in the streets and great leaders that run the organizations,” he continued. “It takes very special, dedicated people to do what our men and women do on a daily basis, and for this I commend them.”

They weren’t the only ones being commended. His colleagues in Bucksport and beyond had plenty of great things to say about him after the banquet.

“He’s a good leader, he has a calm sense about him and I think he’s very reasonable,” said Bar Harbor Police Chief Jim Willis, who has known and worked with Geagan for 25 years.

“All of those things are really needed,” he said, “the ability to stop and think and come up with the right answer instead of the quick answer.”

Bucksport Mayor and Town Council Chairman David Keene works with Geagan and coaches with him on the Bucksport football team.

“I was glad to be here for him,” he said. “It’s great for him as a personal accomplishment, but also it’s great for our community. I’m sure he’ll represent our town very well.”

Geagan’s second-in-command, Detective Sgt. David Winchester, said his boss is “a real easy guy to work for.”

“Sean’s a proven leader, he’s done a fantastic job here,” he said. “Whatever project he takes, he really works hard at it, whether it’s as a police officer, a detective, a chief, or all the coaching things he does in the community.”

The way the leadership of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association is structured, Geagan served as a vice president last year, the second vice president the year before that, and the sergeant-at-arms three years ago.

The chief has become busier and busier with every year, Winchester said, but “he’s focused, and he’s dedicated his whole adult life to his profession.

“Now we’ll try to talk him into taking some days off,” he said.

David Roza

David Roza

David grew up in Washington County, Maryland, has reported in Washington County, Oregon, and now covers news in Hancock County and Washington County, Maine for The American and Out & About.