February 13, 2013

Skowhegan police chief resigns to take Togus VA post

Chief Michael Emmons leaving the department Feb. 23; will head up VA Maine Healthcare Systems' Togus campus police

By Doug Harlow dharlow@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

SKOWHEGAN — Selectmen on Tuesday night voted to accept the resignation of police Chief Michael Emmons, who will become chief of police at VA Maine Healthcare Systems’ Togus campus, in Augusta.

click image to enlarge

Outgoing Skowhegan Police Chief Michael Emmons

Staff photo by David Leaming

His final day on the job in Skowhegan is Feb. 23.

“We’re sorry to see you go,” board Chairwoman Joy Mase said before the unanimous 5-0 vote.

Emmons said taking the Togus job brings him closer to his children and grandchildren in the Augusta area. He said the job also comes with a higher pay grade.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” he said. “I’m very thankful for the opportunity that the Board of Selectmen and the town manager have provided me. I’ve made some great friends here and I love my officers. I’d bring every one of them with me if I could.”

Emmons will take over for Emergency Manager Dennis Passmore who has served as acting police chief for the past nine months, according to Ryan Lilly, center director of VA Maine Healthcare Systems. Emmons is set to begin Feb. 25.

Emmons’ experience across several departments, as well as the fact that he is a veteran, made him an attractive candidate, Lilly said. Emmons’ experience will help meet Togus’ goal of working with surrounding communities, he said.

“That’s important to us as we integrate a lot of our efforts here,” he said.

Emmons’ routine will change when he joins the federal law enforcement agency.

Lilly said VA police do less traffic control and spend more time interacting with people and monitoring and modifying behaviors.

“There’s a lot of preventative work,” Lilly said.

Emmons said he will oversee a staff of 14 police officers, similar to the staff size in Skowhegan, but with a smaller budget and different duties.

“It’s not going to be the same type of law enforcement that I’m accustomed to; it will not be out covering accidents and handling the same types of complaints,” Emmons said before Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting. “It’s really just making sure that the campus is safe, responding to whatever calls they have.”

Emmons said Deputy Police Chief Dan Summers is second-in-command and will be in charge until a new police chief is hired.

Emmons, 54, became police chief in Skowhegan in 2007 after working for the Wiscasset, Augusta and Gardiner police departments. He is a senior master sergeant with the Bangor-based 101st Security Forces Squadron of the Maine Air National Guard.

He was deployed to Southwest Asia in March 2012 for his second tour of the war-torn region and returned to work in Skowhegan in December. In his absence, then-Deputy Police Chief Dale Lancaster took over the day-to-day operations of the department.

Lancaster resigned in July to become chief deputy at the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department.
Summers was appointed deputy chief in January.

In addition to finding a new police chief, the department has to fill two detective positions, with Summers moving up and Detective Kelly Hooper assigned to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency in Augusta.

Staff writer Craig Crosby contributed to this report.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
dharlow@centralmaine.com

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