ALFRED — The calls for service, the miles he’s patrolled, the folks he’s arrested ”“ and those he’s served and protected ”“ must number in the thousands.

It’s been 25 years since Sgt. Roger Hicks started working for York County Sheriff’s Office, first briefly at York County Jail, with the bulk of his career in the police services division. He’s patrolled the 14 towns served by the sheriff’s office, served as the DARE officer and later the Regional School Unit 57 resource officer for nine years, has been the department’s liaison with the county’s haz-mat team, served with the special services unit, has been the department’s primary law enforcement trainer and day shift supervisor.

Now, however, “County 10,” as he is known on police radios, has retired.

Thursday afternoon, a convoy of 40 police and emergency vehicles escorted Hicks home.

The convoy, lights flashing, wound through Alfred and up to Waterboro and beyond, all in a tribute to one of their own, who is known by his colleagues as steady, reliable and dedicated.

Some of the best moments in his career, Hicks said in an interview earlier this week, involved his interaction with young people.

“I always loved being in the schools,” he said. “(Former students) still come up to me and say, ”˜Do your remember me?’”

Some of the worst moments?

Hicks sat silently, reflecting on some horror that occurred 20 years ago, or 10 years, or two. And then he spoke a few words that in their brevity said so much.

“The deaths of young children,” he replied.

Hicks, now 54, became involved in public service early, when he was a student at Scarborough High School in the 1970s. In those days, the fire department augmented their volunteer roster with a student rescue division.

“They put a radio in one of the school offices,” he recalled. When the tones went off, students responded. Hicks joined the Scarborough Fire Department and became a reserve police officer and was working a shift at Scarborough Downs where he met a young woman named Doris, who later became his wife. The couple raised two sons, Aaron and Andrew.

Interested in pursuing his law enforcement career, Hicks, who had a day job in a hardware warehouse, took a preliminary law enforcement “Alert test” on his own and then the required 100-hour law enforcement course. Most who take the 100-hour program are sponsored by a police agency. Hicks put himself through the program after the police chief in South Portland at the time, Robert Schwartz, signed his enrollment paperwork.

Hicks was a reserve officer in Saco and then began his career with York County in 1987, when he began working full-time at York County Jail.

He joined the patrol staff two years later. In those early days, his patrol area included Lebanon, Acton, Newfield, Limerick, Shapleigh, Waterboro, Cornish and Parsonsfield. One other patrol officer on his shift covered the remaining towns. On one memorable day early on in his county career, he handled a record 32 complaints.

Technology has changed over the years, he observed earlier this week.

“I went from one radio in the car to two radios, a computer and a cell phone,” he said. Reports used to be handwritten, not typed on a computer, and now evidence includes DNA as well as bootprints and fingerprints.

He’s seen situations most can’t imagine. He didn’t describe them, but his words were telling: “People would probably cringe if they knew what we deal with,” he said. “It’s day in, day out, seeing the worst people can do to each other.”

He’s worked for four sheriffs: Wes Phinney, Michael Bemis, Philip Cote and Maurice Ouellette.

It was Cote who chose him as the RSU 57 school resource officer. Hicks had just earned his sergeant’s stripes and Cote wanted him to turn them in to take the school job. Hicks said he’d do the job, but keep his stripes ”“ and he did. During his tenure, cameras were installed at Massabesic High School and in some elementary schools, and he wrote a grant that resulted in a rebuilding of the school’s communications system. He and county Emergency Management Director Robert Bohlmann worked together on emergency plans for the schools. In 2009, he left the school system to become day shift supervisor.

Hicks has a been a longtime member of Hollis Fire Department and the county’s haz-mat team and plans to continue.

Thursday was a day of mixed emotions, said Maj. Bill King, who described Hicks as a “steady, reliable law enforcement professional.” King said he’s happy for Hicks in his retirement, but sad to see him go.

“Roger Hicks can be summed up in one word: Dedicated,” said Ouellette. “He has been our daily go-to guy on many projects ”¦ When Roger is given a task, you can take it to the bank that it will be done, without question. I am extremely proud to have been able to work with him, because we both share the same work ethic.”

After the convoy departed, someone remarked it had been quite a day.

“Yes,” said Hicks in his quiet way. “It has.”

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, Ext. 327 or [email protected]

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