Augusta police Chief Jared Mills, seen in front of the Maine State House in Augusta in 2022, has retired from his post has the city’s top cop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

AUGUSTA — Jared Mills, the police chief and assistant city manager, has retired from both those jobs, at least for now.

Mills, 49, who as a law enforcement officer for the last 25 years, was eligible to retire with a pension this year. He worked his last day as the city’s police chief Thursday.

He also stepped down from his other job with Augusta, assistant city manager, which included human resources duties. But he acknowledged in an interview Friday that he plans to apply for the combined job of assistant city manager and human resources director after taking some time off.

And he said he’d likely be interested in potentially seeking the city manager’s position when the current manager, Susan Robertson, retires.

“I feel as though the (police) department is in a really good place right now, I feel like the department is ready, and I’m ready for a change,” Mills said Friday, his first day since stepping down from his city jobs. “I still have plenty of juice left in the tank. I do love the city. It’s a great place and has always had my heart.”

He said he will put in for the assistant manager and human resources position and, when Robertson retires as city manager, “I could definitely see myself being interested in that down the road. Would I be interested in that position? Absolutely. Would I put in for it? We’ll have to see where I’m at, at the time.”


When Robertson, 64, signed on to her most recent contract with the city she said it would be her last and she plans to retire as city manager in October of 2024.

If Mills were to seek the job, it could help the city avoid repeating the difficulties it had in recruiting a new city manager after longtime manager William Bridgeo retired in 2021, when city leaders at the time felt none of the three finalists were right for the job. Instead of hiring from that applicant pool, city leaders approached Robertson, who was then acting city manager but had said she would not be a candidate for the manager’s job, and convinced her to take the job, at least for a few years.

Augusta’s Police Chief Jared Mills, left, and Director of Public Works Lesley Jones talk about “see me flags” during a recording session for “Chat With The Chief” on June 18, 2021, at the intersection of Mt. Vernon Avenue with State, Bond and Boothby streets in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Mayor Mark O’Brien said he hopes Mills will indeed put in for the assistant city manager’s job and also consider seeking the manager’s job when it becomes available. Though he noted Mills would have to compete for the job with others who may seek it.

“I’m hopeful he’ll consider doing so; that is a possibility, but we can’t pre-select for positions,” O’Brien said of Mills potentially returning to a management position with Augusta. “It can be a difficult position to recruit for, or get the right fit for a community.”

A news brief published Dec. 11, 1998, lists Augusta officer Jared Mills among the officers who recently graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

Mills, who obtained a master of public administration degree in 2017 from the University of Maine, said then he’d been interested in a municipal management career since he was deputy chief and was encouraged by then-Chief Robert Gregoire and Bridgeo to further his education.

Bridgeo hired Mills as a police officer in 1998, then saw him rise through the ranks of the department and he appointed him, with the city council’s unanimous confirmation, to chief in 2018 after Gregoire retired.


“He was impressive out of the gate,” Bridgeo said of Mills. “He just excelled.”

Bridgeo said he considered Mills to be a protégé and that Mills took over teaching two public administration and leadership courses he had taught at the University of Maine at Augusta. He said he feels Mills would ultimately make a great city manager.

“He’d be able to serve (as assistant city manager and human resources director) and at the point in time when Susan (Robertson) retires, there is the possibility of a smooth transition to a new city manager, without the angst of trying to recruit somebody in a market these days that is very very tight and challenging,” Bridgeo said of Mills. “He’s a proven, successful, senior municipal executive in Augusta who has the respect of the community already.”

Robertson said Kevin Lully, deputy police chief, would serve as acting police chief until the chief’s position is filled. And Matt Nazar, director of development services, will serve as acting assistant city manager until someone is hired for that role.

Robertson said the recruitment process for the assistant city manager position is underway and the position will first be posted internally, with an application deadline of Dec. 4. She said if there are no internal applicants the city will then advertise the position externally.

She said the recruitment process for police chief will get underway this month.


O’Brien said he’s grateful for Mills’ service as police chief and always thankful when a public safety worker, who put their lives on the line for the public, is able to retire with their health and on their own terms.

Vivian Mills pins the chief badge on her husband, Jared Mills, after he was appointed the new Augusta police chief on June 1, 2018, in the council chamber in Augusta City Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Mills said he has mixed emotions about leaving law enforcement. He said he’ll miss the people he served with immensely. But he said the job has become more challenging as police deal with an increasing array of issues, including responding to people in mental health crisis, and being called to intercede as conflicts arise between an increasing number of people who are homeless and businesses and other residents concerned about their impact on their neighborhoods.

He said one of the biggest changes he’s seen in his years in law enforcement has been the increased use of technology.

Some of that new technology is expected to be deployed in the city’s under-construction new police station. Mills was deeply involved in getting the new station built, but retired from the chief’s job before he could move into the building, which is slated to open in March of 2024.

When Mills was first hired as an officer, in August of 1998, the department had just moved into its current site on Union Street.

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