SKOWHEGAN — A 27-year veteran of the Maine State Police who retired from the command staff this past summer with the rank of major has been named the new deputy police chief.

Dale Lancaster, 56, of Cornville, will take over Dec. 5 for retiring Deputy Police Chief Rick Bonneau.

Selectmen Tuesday night voted 5-0 to authorize Skowhegan Police Chief Michael Emmons to hire Lancaster and to spend an amount not to exceed $10,500 from the Police Department’s reserve account for payroll and benefit overages that will result from Lancaster’s five weeks of in-house training and for five weeks of vacation pay for Bonneau.

The reserve account is generated in part from federal grants in the Community Oriented Policing Services, or the COPS grant program.

Emmons said the town’s Application Review Committee, which included himself, Christine Almand in human resources, Town Manager John Doucette and Planning Board Chairman Don Skillings, originally had five candidates for the job. One withdrew his application and Lancaster was selected from the remaining four candidates. Emmons said there were two applicants from inside the Skowhegan Police Department.

Lancaster was a Somerset County sheriff’s deputy beginning in 1974. He also was a Skowhegan police officer, achieving the rank of sergeant before joining Maine State Police in 1984. He later was commander of state police Troop C barracks in Skowhegan before he was promoted in 2007 to the rank of major, overseeing state police field troops and criminal divisions.

In Dec. 2008, Lancaster completed an 11-week leadership academy at the FBI’s National Academy in Quantico, Va. The academy is offered only to command officers. Course work includes conflict resolution, ethics, decision making and legal issues.

Lancaster, with a total of 37 years of law enforcement experience, said he welcomes a return to the local police beat.

“I think that’s going to be a good thing,” he said after the selectmen’s meeting. “I think working with the community to solve problems is going to be fulfilling.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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