WINSLOW — Police Chief Jeffrey Fenlason resigned abruptly over the weekend after 12 years with the police department.
“He’s been in law enforcement for a long time and said he wants to pursue other interests,” Town Manager Michael Heavener said Monday.
Fenlason, 50, did not respond Monday to requests for comment. He told the town he was resigning Friday and it took effect Saturday, Heavener said.
Heavener said yes when asked if Fenlason’s resignation was abrupt, but would not discuss whether anything happened recently that prompted the short notice.
“I always enjoyed working with Jeff,” Heavener said. “He just said he had other interests.”
Fenlason has been with the department for 12 years and was police chief for four years. Before that he worked for the Oakland Police Department for 15 years as a patrol officer, school resource officer and lieutenant. All told, Fenlason was in law enforcement for about 25 years.
Under his leadership, the town completed a $724,000 renovation of the police station in January 2013.
Fenlason was paid an annual salary of $58,385.
The Town Council is working on putting together a selection committee to hire a new chief and in the meantime Heavener, who formerly served as Winslow’s police chief for six years before becoming town manager, will be the interim chief.
Lt. Josh Veilleux and Sgt. Haley Fleming will also take on additional duties, he said.
Fenlason was admired by many in the department and was someone who was willing to use his many years of experience to help younger officers learn on the job, said Veilleux, who worked with Fenlason for six years. Veilleux said when he started as school resource officer, he was able to rely on Fenlason for advice that helped him do his job.
The department had an inside joke that no one wanted to play poker against Fenlason because he had a convincing poker face, said Veilleux.
“He held himself together,” Veilleux said. “If he was upset or happy, it was hard to tell. He always kept his composure and it was one of those qualities we always admired.”
Fenlason was a patient chief who wasn’t quick to get upset either at officers or the public, Veilleux said.
Veilleux said the situation is a good opportunity for the department to work hard and come together.
“Having been his No. 2 two guy for the last few years, I know that he’s been doing police work for years and he was maybe looking for a different opportunity to do something different,” Veilleux said. “He made it known that if the right opportunity arose, he would probably leave.”
Rachel Ohm— 612-2368 [email protected]