CUMBERLAND — Familiar faces will be filling new roles at the Police Department in July.
With the June 30 retirement of Lt. Milton Calder after nearly 30 years with the department, Sgt. David Young will be promoted to lieutenant, and Officer Antonio Ridge will take Young’s sergeant slot.
Ridge, 38, and Young, 33, grew up a couple houses down from each other in Yarmouth, where they both became firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
“That’s how we started our public safety careers,” Young said June 22 in an interview where he was joined by Ridge and Police Chief Charles Rumsey. He noted he got to know people who doubled as firefighters and police officers during that time.
Young’s law-enforcement career took him to Las Vegas in 2006. “Totally different job,” he said.
He later returned to Maine, and served as director of public safety at the Maine Mall in South Portland before joining the Cumberland force in 2013.
Ridge started with the department in 2003 as a dispatcher and part-time patrol officer, then went into a full-time capacity in 2005.
“The interesting portion (of the job) for me is the problem-solving aspect,” he said. “It’s always a challenge, and it’s always something different.”
The greatest reward of the job for Young is “working in a community like this,” he said. “You can see the difference you’re making, and the people here are great. You can really work on the community policing aspect of the police world, whereas in Las Vegas … you’re kind of controlling chaos while you’re still trying to (fill) that sort of role.”
Ridge said there have been occasions when he’s been thanked by the person he has arrested: “‘Thank you for treating me well,’ (or) ‘thank you for treating me like a person.'”
On the flip side, “This is the type of career where you see a lot of stuff that a lot of people don’t ever want to see,” Young said, including death. “Processing that in different ways is probably one of the tougher parts of the job.”
Despite Cumberland’s relatively quiet, rural feel, the town has its own share of societal concerns like drug use and mental illness, Ridge said, noting that “just like anywhere else in America, we see it.”
When Calder announced his retirement, Rumsey said, “it was really important … that when we moved to fill the positions, we did so in a way that we were able to make sure we were getting the best candidate in the position, and that also would be a process that would have a great deal of credibility within the department, within town government, and within the Cumberland community.”
Both Young and Ridge underwent a rigorous selection process, including interview panels and essay writing, Rumsey said.
Although Young was the only person in the department qualified and interested in the lieutenant’s position – three applied for the sergeant’s job – “in no way (did that affect) the process to make it easier,” Rumsey said. “The focus and the heat was on him a little bit more.”
“At the end of that process, if I had any doubt in my mind whatsoever that he wouldn’t have still been at the top of the group had he had competition, then we would have had a further discussion,” the chief added. “But he shined, and he is very ready to step into this role.”
With Ridge’s promotion leaving an officer’s position vacant, Rumsey has made a conditional job offer to a candidate “we are really excited about,” he said, adding that he hopes the person will be hired and into the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in August.
That will bring the department back to full staffing: 11 sworn officers, a part-time animal control officer and an administrative assistant.
Cumberland Police Chief Charles Rumsey, rear, is promoting Sgt. David Young, left, to lieutenant, and Officer Antonio Ridge to sergeant, effective July 1.