FALMOUTH — The town didn’t have to look very far to find someone to succeed Police Chief Ed Tolan.

Town Manager Nathan Poore announced Tuesday that Lt. John Kilbride will be taking over command of the department beginning in mid-December.

Kilbride has been with the department since 1997 and was promoted first to sergeant and then lieutenant 10 years later.

“I know that Lt. Kilbride is the best choice to be Falmouth’s next chief,” Poore said in a press release. “His 21 years working in Falmouth, as well as his commitment to law enforcement give him an advantage. It will be exciting to see Lt. Kilbride lead the Falmouth Police Department.”

Kilbride said he never had his eye on the top job, but hopes to take the department to “another level” and said he has “a whole list of new ideas and initiatives.” Among his goals, Kilbride said, are to be a “progressive department that’s prepared for future challenges.”

Specifically, Kilbride said he will focus on school security, being proactive in protecting seniors from scams and other forms of abuse and “enhancing our communication and relationships with the business community.”

Tolan announced his retirement in late August following a 45-year career in law enforcement, the last 23 as Falmouth’s police chief. At that time he said while Falmouth is a safe community, “our calls for service continue to escalate and we need to grow the department to meet that demand.”

Kilbride’s first day as chief will be Dec. 17 and his first year’s salary will be about $96,000. There are plans to create two lieutenant positions, without adding to the personnel budget, but for now, Sgt. Frank Soule will be the interim lieutenant.

Kilbride grew up in Portland, where he still lives, and graduated from Deering High School. He’s married and his son is a student at the University of Southern Maine. Kilbride has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Husson University and is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

His accomplishments with the Falmouth Police Department include developing the K-9 program, grant writing and overseeing the School Resource Officers, as well as being responsible for the overall, day-to-day operations.

Kilbride’s original dream was to become a firefighter and he actually served as a volunteer with the Falmouth Fire Department, but after serving as a reserve police officer for several years, “I got hooked on police work.”

“I truly love being a police officer and putting on the uniform every day,” he said. Kilbride hopes he will be able to get out from behind his desk as chief and interact with both the community and his officers.

He had nothing but praise for Tolan and said “I can’t say enough about how he helped me develop my career. He was inclusive and brought me to every meeting and introduced me to everyone. I’m forever indebted.”

“I truly appreciate the opportunity” to take over as police chief, Kilbride said.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or [email protected]. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Lt. John Kilbride will become Falmouth’s next chief of police.

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