Sgt. Andrew Belisle plans to retire this spring after 29 years with Kennebunk Police Department and 45 years in law enforcement. Tammy Wells Photo

KENNEBUNK — If you’re thinking small town Maine, Kennebunk is a pleasant place to be, many would agree. It is pretty, the ocean is nearby, and even though the year round population, estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau at 11,500 in 2018, swells during the summer, it still has that “town” feel.

It is a good place to work if you’re a law enforcement officer, said Sgt. Andrew Belisle.

“Kennebunk is a good place to start a career, and it is a good place to end a career,” said Belisle who will be retiring from his 29-year gig at the Kennebunk Police Department on April 15.

“Kennebunk is an ideal location,” said Belisle, when asked what he’d advise those considering a career in law enforcement. “We don’t have the serious crimes of the major cities like Boston, and we’re a close-knit family, as most (police departments) are. We work together as a small town. It just works.”

As well as supervising officers on the day shift, Belisle is the fellow who sees to it that the fleet of police vehicles is always up to snuff, makes sure municipal buildings are up to date with safety protocols set forth by Maine’s labor bureau, and is the officer often seen at meetings of the Lower Village Committee, Downtown Committee or West Kennebunk Committee.

“He’s a class act,” said Chief Robert MacKenzie of the retiring sergeant.


MacKenzie credits Belisle as the officer who created a community at Cold Water Farms, Kennebunk’s largest subdivision, built in the 1990s. The subdivision, located off Route 99 near the Sanford city line, has close to 130 lots. Belisle spent time in the neighborhood, and instituted a Crime Watch Neighborhood group there.

“He was instrumental in pulling that neighborhood into a community,” said MacKenzie on Friday.

Belisle has been an officer with Kennebunk Police for 29 of his 45 years in law enforcement.

While a lot of his work is the same, day-to-day in some respects, he said, there’s always a little twist that makes a call for service or some other police-related situation a bit different.

And there’s the people. While officers often encounter residents and visitors who are at their worst, community policing is emphasized in Kennebunk, he said, where officers are also seen at public events and take part in municipal initiatives.

“It’s nice to meet with people and have them see us on a positive note,” said Belisle.


Select Board Chair Blake Baldwin announced Belisle’s coming retirement at a recent meeting.

“Sgt. Belisle is recognized as being ‘officer-friendly’ and is loved by our townspeople,” said Baldwin. “He exemplifies the traits of a Community Policing Officer.”

Belisle began his career in law enforcement in Sanford on July 10, 1975, after a hitch as a jet engine mechanic in the U.S Air Force. He was an officer there for more than 11 years, and his interest in making sure vehicles used by a police department were in good order originated there. Sanford’s police cruisers at that time were not in the best of shape and Belisle, who grew up around cars, decided to go ahead and get his inspection license.

After rising to the rank of corporal in Sanford, he moved to the now-defunct Lebanon Police Department where he served as a lieutenant for four years before joining Kennebunk Police.

There’s not a lot of violent crime n Kennebunk, said Belisle. But he said incidents of crime have increased during his years in law enforcement. He noted an increase in crimes that often target the community’s elderly population.

Scammers, adept at manipulation, prey on older people, he said. The phone rings, and a senior carries on a conversation that can end with a theft, as the scammer draws personal information from their target.


The prevalence of cell phones has also led to an increase the number of calls for service — incidents like road rage are often reported on-the-spot, he said.

And Belisle pointed out, it wasn’t that many years ago when marijuana was illegal in Maine — but that has changed, as first medical marijuana became legalized and Mainers approved the adult use of marijuana at the ballot box a couple of years ago.

The department plans a big send off for Belisle on April 15, and MacKenzie said part of the day will be structured so residents can stop by and greet him.

The first thing he plans to do upon his retirement from full-time police work is take a road trip with his wife Sylvia, Belisle said,  and then he plans to relax for the summer.

“I still enjoy it,” Belisle said of his work, “but I know it’s time,” to retire.

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