Freeport Police Chief Susan Nourse, seen in this file photo, has announced she will retire at the end of the year. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

FREEPORT — Police Chief Susan Nourse said she  will retire at the end of the year after serving for 36 years with the department, the last four as its chief.

Town Manager Peter Joseph announced Nourse’s impending retirement on Tuesday.

Nourse, 59, said she alerted the town manager in January that this was going to be her final year. Retirement is something she’s been thinking about personally and professionally and felt it is the right thing to do at this time, she said.

Nourse doesn’t plan to continue in law enforcement but said she’s not sure what she will do next while the coronavirus pandemic continues to limit options.

Lt. Nathaniel Goodman will be acting police chief once Nourse retires until a new police chief is hired.

Nourse joined the department full-time in 1984. According to Joseph, Nourse started as a dispatcher and part-time police officer and worked her way up the ranks. She was hired as the departments’ first female police chief in 2016.

When hired to lead the 16 full-time member department, Nourse said she thought she may hold the position for five or 10 years. She would be coming up on five years in June 2021, “so I don’t think it’s unusually short or long either way,” Nourse said on Wednesday

She said her greatest accomplishment has been her focus on education. Nourse came to Freeport Police Department with a teaching degree she expanded upon working within the community, with other officers, in substance abuse education programs in the schools and working with businesses on crime prevention. It’s been a theme in her police work helping others learn about the job of policing, “and how the community can participate and help the department make it a safer community.”

“My best day is when I meet up with a 6-year-old and give them a police sticker and ask them to help me keep everybody safe,” Nourse said.

Police deal with people on their worst day, Nourse said, so it’s important that police also interact with people when they aren’t having their worst day so they can talk about policing issues.

She said the good times come with the bad too. She also acknowledged it’s a tough time to be a police officer as the Black Lives Matter movement has called for reform in police departments to combat systemic racism and bias.

“I feel like it’s worth it to be in this career and be able to not just enforce the laws but to be a helper in the community,” Nourse said. “You do have to be a different person to take on this responsibility and we have a great crew of officers doing it every day so I appreciate their willingness to continue even when we’re scrutinized.”

“I enjoy my job and I also have lots of outside activities and interests that I want to pursue more fully, so it is kind of a bittersweet decision for me,” Nourse said.

Comments are not available on this story.