The leader of the Maine State Police is retiring to take a job in the private sector.

Col. John Cote, a 33-year veteran of the agency, will leave his post Sept. 30, according to a three-paragraph statement posted Tuesday by the Department of Public Safety.

Colonel John Cote Contributed photo

He has accepted a position at Hartt Transportation Systems in Bangor as the Eastern Region Director of Safety, the statement said. Hartt is a subsidiary of Bison Transportation USA.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as a Maine Trooper for over three decades,” Cote said in a statement. “I have worked with many outstanding people who will continue to make the Maine State Police a premiere agency dedicated to keeping Maine a safe place to live and visit.”

Cote was appointed in 2018 by former Gov. Paul LePage. He joined the state police in 1989 and previously served as the troop commander in Houlton before climbing to deputy chief for two years before his appointment as colonel.


“Colonel Cote is a consummate professional who has led the Maine State Police with honor and grace during an incredibly difficult time for our law enforcement profession,” Michael Sauschuck, the commissioner of public safety, said in an email Tuesday night. “The dedication he has toward his agency and its mission can only be matched by the love he has for his amazing family, his Troopers and the great State of Maine.”

In June, Cote announced an internal reorganization that included adding detectives to the major crimes unit – which investigates most homicides statewide and other serious crimes – five new behavioral health specialists, who will assist troopers with people experiencing a mental health crisis, and creating a midnight shift for troopers who previously did not work overnight.

Cote also oversaw the creation of a body-worn camera program, but details about the timing of its rollout have not been released.

“Colonel John Cote’s steady leadership and decades long service at the Maine State Police have kept Maine people safe and inspired the next generation of State Police Troopers who are already serving their communities with integrity and honor,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement. “On behalf of all Maine people, I thank him for his service to the State of Maine and I wish him well in his retirement and future endeavors.”

By statute, Mills and Sauschuck are responsible for naming Cote’s successor. State police chiefs serve four-year terms. The successor will have to be confirmed by the Maine Legislature.

Cote’s predecessor, Col. Robert Williams, retired to take a position outside state government. Williams is now head of security at Colby College in Waterville.

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: