Kennebunk Police Chief Robert MacKenzie has received a Community Service Award from the Maine Sheriff’s Association, presented here by vice president York County Sheriff Bill King. He was recognized for his work in the opioid crisis by local legislators Rep. Chris Babbidge and  Sen. Robert Foley and in an email from Gov. Janet Mills. Tammy Wells Photo

KENNEBUNK- Kennebunk Police Chief Robert MacKenzie has been at the forefront of the opioid crisis, recognizing addiction as a disease and working to help people secure tools for recovery.

He was recognized for his work on Tuesday, Aug. 11, receiving a Community Service Award from the Maine Sheriff’s Association and  a Legislative sentiment and well wishes from Rep. Chris Babbidge, Sen. Robert Foley – and a message from Gov. Janet Mills for his work and receipt of the Maine Police Chief Association Award for Outstanding Contribution to Law Enforcement.

“Bob recognized early on that police response to the drug problem was inadequate,” said Babbidge. ” He collaborated with the police in New Gloucester, Massachusetts, that had initiated a new program, and has been a leader in Maine. He understands that people afflicted with substance abuse disorder are not bad people, but sick people, and that the response from police must be less about law enforcement and punishment and more about public safety and community welfare.”

“While many individuals in law enforcement have stepped up to treat substance use disorder as a chronic disease, not a moral failing, no one has done more than the Chief to help break down the barriers and stigma that are so strongly attached to this disease,” said Mills in an emailed statement.

“Your police chief is one of those rare and great individuals done a lot in the state of Maine,” said Foley.

York County Sheriff Bill King, vice president of the MSA, said MacKenzie has done great work, and the Maine Sheriff’s Association was pleased to make the award.

“I know he’s your police chief, but he is recognized throughout the state,” said King.

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