Cumberland Police Chief Joe Charron to retire in April

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CUMBERLAND — Police Chief Joe Charron, who has worked for the town since 1982, will retire April 1, Town Manager Bill Shane announced at Monday’s Town Council meeting.

The panel also approved borrowing up to $3.2 million for Middle Road improvements.

Charron’s retirement comes at the same time that Freeport Police Chief Jerry Schofield will retire after almost four decades with that department.

The Maine Chiefs of Police Association is assisting the town in the hiring process for Charron’s replacement, a process that could wrap up in June or July, Shane said. It may be a few weeks before it is decided who will serve as interim chief, he said after the meeting.

Charron spent five years as a training school counselor with the Maine Youth Center before joining the Cumberland department as an officer in 1982. He replaced Leon Planche as chief in 1995.

The 60-year-old Cumberland resident said in an interview Tuesday that he now wants to “figure out what I really want to do.”

Charron said he has been “doing what I really love doing,” and will try to find something else he enjoys as much.

“Joe has been responsible for a lot of programs here,” Shane said during a slide show presentation about Charron’s career, noting his involvement in the DARE program, establishing a school resource officer, and others initiatives.

Shane also mentioned Charron’s commitment to having police officers undergo EMT training.

“He was here a lot of times for events that needed additional help or support,” Shane said, adding that under Charron’s leadership Cumberland has had one of the lowest crime rates in the county – and, in 2015, the fourth-lowest crime rate in Maine.

“Joe has done an outstanding job for our community,” Shane said. “… He will be missed, and his legacy will live long after his departure.”

Middle Road project

The Town Council on Monday also unanimously approved a bond of up to $3.2 million for a reconstruction and waterline project on Middle Road. The panel also supported, as part of that expenditure, a $127,000 contract with Sevee & Mahar for the project’s engineering services.

Bonding $3.2 million would add about $256,000 annually to Cumberland’s debt, Shane explained, noting that the work has been included in the town’s five-year capital plan.

“Responsible planning for this project has allowed us to temper the impact of the new debt with minimal impact to the bond schedule,” the manager wrote in a Feb. 15 memorandum to the council.

The bond will be issued in spring 2017, with construction to begin around that time, and final paving to be completed in July 2018.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.