Kevin Schofield, Bridgton’s police chief since 2011, is set to replace Richard Lewsen as Windham’s next police chief.

The Windham Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to confirm Schofield’s appointment. Schofield will join the Windham police force on April 20, while Lewsen, Windham’s police chief of 24 years, will retire April 30.

Schofield, 48, a native of Massachusetts, moved to Freeport in 1982 and has served in law enforcement in Maine for 29 years. Schofield served as a patrol and school resource officer on the Topsham Police Department for four years, and worked on the Brunswick police force for 21 years. He left that department as commander.

“I have a very diversified background,” Schofield said. “I have the experience in larger departments, at least by Maine standards, smaller departments, in communities with different political and socioeconomic situations, as well. I’d like to think the folks on the various interview committees and the manager would see that and see that I have the ability to come here and adapt to the town of Windham and the department, as well.”

Schofield, who will receive a starting salary of $76,355, holds an executive certification from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Southern Maine Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in organizational leadership from Southern New Hampshire University. Lewsen will receive an $87,620 this year.

Coming from Bridgton, which has a department roughly a third the size of the 29-person Windham Police Department, Schofield said he looked forward to working with a diverse range of officers.

“What makes me excited again is the diversified programs and the high level of experience here,” Schofield said. “We have a lot of folks with more experience than I do on the job, and there’s also some folks that are just starting their careers. There’s a lot of excitement to have that level of institutional and professional background, knowledge around me, as well, but also at the same time the excitement of mentoring and developing younger officers that are just starting out their careers.”

Apart from managing a larger department, Schofield anticipates modest differences in the type of criminal activity he might encounter in his new job.

“There’s a larger retail component here in Windham than in Bridgton,” Schofield said. “I anticipate that there will probably be more of those types of crimes that are associated with things like check fraud, credit card frauds, shoplifting, those types of property crimes.

“By and large one of the things that 30 years of this business has taught me in different communities, the core issues that we are dealing with in law enforcement as a profession aren’t terribly different, no matter if you are in Brunswick, Topsham, Windham or Bridgton,” Schofield added.

Schofield said it would be difficult to follow Lewsen, Windham’s police chief since 1991 and a member of the department since it was founded in the 1970s.

“It’s going to be big shoes to fill,” Schofield said. “The Windham Police Department doesn’t know life without Chief Lewsen. The Windham Police Department was established in ’76, and he’s been here the whole time.”

Lewsen described Schofield as a “fine man.”

“He’s going to make a good chief, a really good chief,” Lewsen said.

According to Town Manager Tony Plante, the eight-person search committee began looking for a new chief last fall, and chose Schofield from among 50 candidates. Plante described the appointment of Schofield as the beginning of a new era for the department.

“We are pleased and excited to have Chief Schofield join us and begin the next chapter in the Windham Police Department’s history,” Plante said. “We had a lot of people involved in the search process, and really took the time to understand the department’s and community’s needs. Chief Schofield will be a great fit, and will help lead the department’s talented and dedicated professionals into the future.”

Bridgton Police Chief Kevin Schofield, right, will replace longtime Windham Police Chief Richard Lewsen, who described Schofield as a “fine man.”Staff photo by Ezra SilkSchofield, Bridgton’s police chief since 2011, has also worked in the Topsham and Brunswick police forces during his 29-year law enforcement career in Maine. Staff photo by Ezra Silk

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