SKOWHEGAN — Police Chief Donald Bolduc is going home.

Bolduc, 52, police chief in Skowhegan since 2015, is returning to Millinocket where his wife of more than 30 years and his son, who is recovering from cancer treatments, still live. Bolduc’s last day as police chief is April 7.

“Personally, I’m leaving to return to Millinocket. I’ve been there the majority of my life and my wife works in Millinocket,” Bolduc said in an interview Monday. “My family is my priority. It’s time for me to go home. It’s a true strain to be away from home that much.”

Bolduc added that he has been frustrated at times in Skowhegan, battling for higher wages for his patrol officers, as he worked to revamp a Police Department with training and updated equipment. He said the department recently lost three officers, including a detective sergeant, to other agencies that pay more money.

He said starting pay for an entry-level patrol officer in Skowhegan is $16.59 per hour for the first two years, or about $2.50 to $4 per hour less than other departments that are all competing to fill rosters.

“In the state and in the nation, we’re seeing less and less people who want to be police officers,” Bolduc said. “With the climate in society and the media, that takes a toll. So it’s very important recruiting people that you can be competitive with your surrounding agencies and provide a fair wage, benefits package and a proactive police department.”

Bolduc said he could not say much more than that because labor contracts between the patrolman’s union and the town are ongoing and he would not want to be accused of “negotiating in public” and upsetting the bargaining process.

“I am grateful for the opportunity, and I consider it an honor and a privilege to be chief of the Skowhegan Police Department. You have a great community here,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bolduc accepted a position with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office as a patrol deputy. He said his first job in law enforcement was that of a corrections officer at the Penobscot County Jail in 1986. He also has been a commissioned deputy in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties since 1993.

Bolduc, who left his job as chief of police in Millinocket to take a job as a patrol officer in Skowhegan in 2013, moved quickly up the ranks. In August 2013, he became deputy chief when Dan Summers left to become chief in Lincoln.

He was named acting chief at the end of July 2015, when Chief Ted Blais abruptly resigned, and was appointed Skowhegan police chief in September of that year. Blais had been chief since June 2013, replacing Michael Emmons, who had been police chief since 2007.

Sgt. Joel Cummings, with 25-plus years on the job in Skowhegan, is second in command and Bolduc said he would make a good police chief.

Town Manager Christine Almand said Monday it was too early to discuss Bolduc’s replacement. She said she is sad to see Bolduc go, but understands his commitment to his family.

Bolduc also said there is a measure of sadness leaving Skowhegan, a paper mill town that is vibrant and alive, much like the old days in Millinocket before the mills closed and people left to find work elsewhere.

“When I came to Skowhegan, it was like stepping back in time almost 25 years because Millinocket was so much like Skowhegan back then. There was more people and a lot going on,” he said. “I had some ties here. My grandparents lived on Madison Avenue for years. My parents were married at the Catholic church here.”

Bolduc said he has made a lot of friends in Skowhegan, including people at the Fire Department, the hospital ambulance service and the district attorney’s office.

“And the community,” he said. “The people of Skowhegan, when I found out my son had cancer, they rallied around with a basketball fundraiser and a GoFundMe page. There’s a lot of sadness because there’s a lot of great people here.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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