New Richmond police Chief James Donnell at the town’s station Tuesday. Kennebec Journal photo by Andy Molloy

James Donnell, who has been a sergeant in the Richmond Police Department since 2016, has been named chief.

On Monday, the Richmond Board of Selectmen voted to ratify the appointment made by Town Manager Adam Garland, and it went into effect on Tuesday.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to serve the town as we have and provide the best care and protection,” Donnell said. “This is a good department and we have good people.”

Donnell, 35, started working as a police officer in Richmond in 2013, after graduating from the basic law enforcement training program at Central Carolina Community College in Sanford, North Carolina.

While in Richmond, Donnell restarted the annual Youth Bike Rodeo, an event that teaches bicycle safety in conjunction with bike giveaways, and has been involved with Special Olympics.

He’s also investigated a range of crimes that ended in arrests, including the theft of the donation jug at the Isaac F. Umberhine Library, and the assault of  Malcolm Linton, which resulted in his death, for which his son Kurt was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter. At the end of 2019, he worked on the case of the disappearance of Anneliese Heinig.

Donnell also serves as a lieutenant in the Pittston Fire Department.

The vacancy in the chief’s position was created when Scott MacMaster, who had served as police chief in Richmond for a decade, resigned to accept the same position at the Hallowell Police Department. He started Monday.

In mid-March, the Board of Selectmen voted to accept the resignation of MacMaster, and at that point, Donnell was designated to serve as acting chief after his departure.

Garland said Monday he posted the position internally, and Donnell applied for it. His starting salary will be $55,000.

Garland said at Monday’s meeting that Donnell is expected to be a working chief, with 7-8 hours of administrative time.

Currently, the department has two full-time officers, including Donnell, as well as four part-time officers.

Garland said he has also advertised to fill two vacancies in the department. Earlier this year, Chris Giles accepted a position with another police department. William Towle, a part-time officer with the department, had initially accepted a full-time position with the department, but has withdrawn his application.

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