The town of Freeport is going to lose its police and fire chief this year, all within the span of 6 weeks.

Police Chief Jerry Schofield has announced that he plans to retire March 26 while Fire Chief Darrel Fournier is retiring May 6.

Both Schofield and Fournier have spent at least 40 years in their respective fields. The Town Council accepted their resignations at the council’s meeting Tuesday night.

“It came as a little bit of a surprise that they are both retiring around the same time,” said Town Manager Peter Joseph.

Lt. Susan Nourse will serve as acting police chief. There are no plans yet to fill Fournier’s job on an interim basis, but Freeport does have a full-time deputy fire chief, Paul Conley.

The police chief earns an annual salary of $92,514 while the fire chief’s salary is $87,426, Joseph said. Town officials have not decided what salaries will be offered to candidates for the two jobs.

Joseph said the town will likely hire an outside consultant to work with a residents selection committee to fill the posts. Joseph said there are several internal candidates who may be interested in the positions.

Schofield was hired as a patrol officer in Freeport in July 1976. He worked his way through the ranks, getting promoted to sergeant, lieutenant and finally to chief in 1988.

“The decision to retire has not been an easy one as I often reflect upon and recall joining the police department in 1976 … The town at that time (1976) was a typical small Maine town with many small locally owned stores, several active shoe shops, and of course L.L. Bean,” Schofield wrote in his retirement letter. “Over my years of service I have witnessed the town transform from that small town image to the outstanding community it is today.”

Schofield told the town that he is retiring to “enjoy other pursuits” such as spending time with his family, hobbies and traveling.

“I also look forward to the attempt at checking off items from my personal bucket list,” he wrote.

Fournier joined the Freeport Fire Department in 1970. He became Freeport’s first full-time fire chief in 1983.

Fournier left in 1990 to become fire chief in Waterville. He served there for nine years before returning to Freeport in 1999, where he was re-appointed as fire chief and emergency management director.

“After a lot of thought and discussion with my family, it is time to pass the Chief badge on to the next generation of leadership for Freeport Fire Rescue,” Fournier said in his retirement letter. “Thank you for all your support of me and Freeport Fire Rescue. I look forward to being a citizen during my next adventure.”