It’s almost hard to recognize the police chief’s office in Fort Kent…there’s new paint on the walls, a new wooden desk, and a new guy in charge. Tom Pelletier has been the town’s police chief for more than a month now.
“It’s almost like taking a drink out of a fire hydrant,” said Pelletier.
He took over for Doody Michaud on May 12th. When I asked him to describe the last month in one word – he said, overwhelming. Though he has extensive experience as a state trooper, being a chief means more administrative duties.
“Coming from a state agency..putting gas in a vehicle wasn’t a big issue there because we had the car to do it..from a chief’s perspective you need to be more financially responsible for the spending we do have,” he said.
He’s also been reviewing some of the towns policies and procedures after a recent murder in St. Francis. Pelletier said that event has increased the calls to the Fort Kent PD in regards to domestic violence.
“The local communities all have ties to Fort Kent so when a tragedy like that happens in the communities surrounding us, it directly affects us,” he said.
He says his years of experience don’t make dealing with a tragedy like the one in St. Francis, any easier.
“It still bothers you to an extent, but we need to move forward and do our job, just keeping the rest of the community safe,” he said.
One way he does want to do that — adding to the department. they’re working to replace a retiring officer – he wants to secure some grant money to add another officer so they’ll have 24 hour coverage..which he says is a must in an area right on the border that has a hospital, two 24 hour stores, and a university.
“We have the same problems in a small town that they do in the big cities we don’t have the frequency,” he said.
And Pelletier says going from three to four full time officers would also help the department get more integrated in the schools.