Schoodic police departments share strong spirit of cooperation

WINTER HARBOR — Two heads are often better than one, as are two pair of hands, two sets of eyes and two police cruisers.

That is the way Gouldsboro Police Chief Glenn Grant and Winter Harbor Police Chief Mike Walsh approach their friendly collaboration.

Mutual aid is a longstanding tradition among local fire departments, but police are another matter.

Grant took over as police chief five years ago following months of tension between selectmen and the former police chief.

Walsh took over six years ago from a police chief who was, to put it mildly, a colorful character.

“We can continue that legacy or go down a new road,” Grant said.

Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor geographically fit like puzzle pieces on the Schoodic Peninsula.

Grant and Walsh say their professional duet is approaching that type of seamless union as well.

“It’s not that we didn’t get along before,” Grant said. “There just wasn’t a lot of communication. Good talks go a long way.”

“We’re all in this together,” said Walsh.

The two say the cooperation is particularly important in rural areas. Grant has up to 60 miles of road to cover and Walsh about 30.

The two help each other out in a number of ways. For instance, if Grant has to be in court in Ellsworth he will notify Walsh and Winter Harbor will cover for him.

No money changes hands, just goodwill.

“We don’t keep score,” Grant said.

“It all comes out in the wash,” Walsh said.

“I know if anything happens in Gouldsboro they can go right over there,” Walsh said.

“And the other way around,” said Grant.

Recently Grant was dealing with a local resident who became unexpectedly hostile and aggressive.

He was wrestling him to the ground “when all of a sudden there were four more hands behind me,” Grant said.

Jumping in to assist were Walsh and one of his part-time officers, who had been monitoring the police radio.

Grant and Walsh say they share information more than they ever did in the past.

“Intel,” Grant said. “They may help us and vice versa.”

Gouldsboro has one other full-time police officer — Don Gibson — and three part-time officers — Jeff Bishop, Paul Gamble and a candidate who hasn’t been officially hired.

Walsh is part time and has four part-time officers — Ken Monroe, Phil Sargent, Danny Mitchell and Jeff Bishop — the same Jeff Bishop who works part time in Gouldsboro.

Both have relaxed demeanors, but say they can accelerate their stance if needed.

“When it comes time… ” said Grant.

“We handle things,” said Walsh.

“We take care of business,” said Grant.

The two say their relationships with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Maine State Police and the Marine Patrol also are getting better and better every day.

During the Winter Harbor Lobster Festival Aug. 9, Grant and Walsh were worried because the 50th celebration was to include — for the first time ever — a street dance and beer garden.

Walsh and all of his men were there, as were Grant and two of his officers.

The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department cruised around nearby and the Marine Patrol was at the ready in the harbor.

Nothing untoward happened, but both believe the heavy police presence had a sobering effect on the crowd, which they kept contained to a certain area if they were drinking alcohol.

“We’re going to get a lot more benefits working together,” Grant said.

“Same fight, same team,” Walsh said.

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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