A Gouldsboro native, Tyler Dunbar attended Gouldsboro Grammar School, the Winter Harbor School, and Sumner High School, where he served on the student council a year and played baseball for two years. For a while he thought about going lobstering full time, but a desire to serve the community led him to pursue a law-enforcement career.
Today he serves his hometown as its police chief.
After graduating from Sumner, Dunbar earned his criminal-justice degree at Husson University. During his last semester he attended the 18-week program at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro to become “a certified police officer in the State of Maine.
“You can work at any police department” in Maine except for the Maine State Police and Maine Warden Service, which require additional training, he said.
Dunbar went lobstering with his father, Greg Dunbar, while applying to various police departments. “I had grown up lobstering, worked since I was 11 or 12,” Tyler said. “I had my own boat (a 21-foot Repco) for a couple of years in grammar school and high school.”
Gouldsboro Police Chief Glen Grant hired Dunbar as a reserve officer in September 2014. “I was actually working on Dad’s boat and doing” police work “at the same time,” usually working the afternoon-to-midnight shift, he recalled.
Hired as a full-time patrol officer in August 2015, Dunbar worked the evening shift, covering Gouldsboro and sometimes working alongside Winter Harbor police officers. “We assist each other when we can. We most often act as each other’s backup,” he said.
Gouldsboro selectmen named Dunbar the town’s police chief in April 2016. The department also has one full-time patrol officer and one reserve officer; they and Dunbar “fill the shifts we’re budgeted to cover,” and “we could use some more reserve officers,” he said.
Gouldsboro officers respond to myriad calls, ranging from the mundane to the potentially dangerous. “It’s not a boring place to work,” Dunbar said. “We’re always busy. It’s not uncommon that I’m going to five or six calls a day,” besides working on felony cases and attending court hearings in Hancock.
“We try to work as closely as we can with other departments,” he said. Gouldsboro officers back up sheriff’s deputies and state troopers as requested and “work closely with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency,” Dunbar noted.
“The biggest problem here is drugs. Primarily we see heroin and cocaine,” along with prescription medications diverted to illegal use, he said. Gouldsboro has around 1,750 residents; many are concerned about the scourge of drugs and related crimes, such as theft, and appreciate law-enforcement efforts to deal with such problems.
“One big advantage of working here is” that “it’s nice to see the difference you have made,” Dunbar said. “You can see the impact.
“People will approach us and thank us,” he said.
As to why he went into law enforcement, Dunbar explained that “I was always kind of interested in it when I was younger. I was all set up for lobstering back then. At the end of the day, I wanted to be able to accomplish something, like giving something back” to the community.
“The guys who work with me are on the same page” in their dedication to helping Gouldsboro residents, he said. “We are here to assist people. I feel if someone has been burglarized, we owe it to the community to try and resolve that.”
Dunbar enjoys fishing and kayaking and visiting with friends. “My family has a camp in Eastbrook, on Webb Pond, and I like to go out” there on weekends, he said.