GOULDSBORO — Gouldsboro Police Chief and experienced surfer Pat McNulty can deftly fade into a wave’s curl, spin around the nose and other moves. However, McNulty didn’t know about black ice or how to negotiate it before his first Maine winter. The Rhode Islander learned the hard way.
In January, McNulty was assisting at a multi-vehicle accident in which Gouldsboro Police Officer Landan Scott’s cruiser had been struck and had gone off Island View Road, triggered by icy road conditions. Alighting from the patrol truck to block off the road, the police chief says he “slipped on my butt on black ice, which was invisible, and literally slid to the bottom of the hill.”
The road’s surface was so slick, McNulty had to crawl to the snowy shoulder and walk back up the hill. He then gingerly slid his way — maybe his surfing came into play — over to his truck that was blocking the South Gouldsboro Road. He managed to grab the vehicle’s mirror.
McNulty’s milestone surviving black ice did not go unnoticed like most things in this small town.
At a March 17 meeting — coincidentally St. Patrick’s Day — Select Board Chairman Dana Rice solemnly rose from his chair and ceremoniously presented McNulty with sorely needed personal protective equipment to tote in his cruiser next winter. The red saucer, emblazoned with a snowman complete with a policeman’s hat and badge, reads “Gouldsboro Police P.P.E.” Rice noted police officers sometimes “have to fly by the seat of their pants.”
Gouldsboro’s new Emergency Plan Coordinator Jackie Johnston is said to have had a hand in the saucer’s design.
Jokes aside, Rice said McNulty’s brush with black ice provided an opportunity to recognize the chief’s fine work since starting the job eight months ago. The chairman praised him for his leadership unifying the Gouldsboro Police Department and empowering his officers. Whether it’s rounding up stray dogs or shoveling out a snowbound resident, he said the police chief has not only shown himself to be an outstanding policeman, but citizen as well.
“The professionalism and integrity that you have shown to the town is important,” Rice said. “More importantly, you have done it from the heart.”