This week, May 9-15, we celebrate National Police Officer week.

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officer’s Memorial Day. Each year, we pause on that day to recognize those law enforcement officers that have died in the line of duty. We also use the week that May 15 falls in to recognize our brothers and sisters in the law enforcement community, for all the great work they do to serve and protect our communities.

Recently, the national press has been full of stories regarding police bias and misconduct. There have been loud calls for defunding the police, and legislative efforts that have the potential to devastate police forces now and well into the future. Here in Scarborough, we are blessed to have one of the finest police departments anywhere. For over 22 years it is has been led by Chief Robbie Moulton who has announced his retirement in early July after nearly 45 years in the department.

Chief Moulton and his department have been providing quality, compassionate, and professional law enforcement to our community for decades. Scarborough PD were pioneers in dealing with substance abuse disorder, and the Operation Hope program they had the courage to establish has now placed over 500 people in recovery. Although certainly one of the most visible, Operation Hope isn’t the only innovative program Chief Moulton and his team have created. His department leads in many other areas and the citizens of Scarborough benefit from that leadership and expertise daily.

As National Police Week 2021 ends, I hope you will join me in thanking and recognizing Chief Moulton for his stellar career and leadership, as well as each and every one of our dedicated police officers and support staff for the outstanding job they do protecting all of us and our community every day.

This coming week, May 16-22, is National EMS (Emergency Medical Services) week. Since 1974, this week has been set aside each year to recognize the nation’s first responders who provide pre-hospital emergency care and transportation to the emergency department. It provides us with the opportunity to recognize and honor the dedication of those special individuals who are on the front lines of providing lifesaving day-to-day emergency medical services to our citizens and visitors.

The Scarborough Rescue was the first ambulance service in the State of Maine, formed in the 1950s by local Dr. Phillip Haigis due to the unusually high incidence of serious motor vehicle accidents particularly on the very busy U.S. Route 1 corridor before the Maine Turnpike was built. In those early days, it was completely staffed by local volunteers, many of whom were members of the Scarborough Lion’s Club, a longtime supporter of the Scarborough Rescue Unit.

In those early days, there really wasn’t a formal EMS system. Our local family doctor trained those early volunteers in basic first aid and they transported patients to the hospital in an old panel truck. The EMS service that the Scarborough Fire Department provides has changed dramatically over the past 70 years. We now employ 32 full-time EMS professionals, the majority of whom are licensed to the Paramedic level. Additionally we have dozens of call and per-diem members that are an integral part of our EMS system. We staff two ambulances 24/7/365 and have a third that fills in when one of the other units is being serviced, or as a third responding unit for calls with multiple patients, or when we have to respond to multiple calls at the same time.

As you might imagine the best EMS system in the world is only as good as the individual providers who constantly train and work hard every day to provide competent and compassionate health care to our citizens and visitors. This year, after dealing with a global pandemic for well over a year, it is more important than ever to recognize those on the front lines.

Our providers have, and continue, to truly lead the charge. They didn’t have an option to be furloughed, work remotely from the safety of their homes, or work a reduced schedule. In fact, many of them were forced to work additional hours each week to cover for co-workers who were quarantined or in precautionary isolation due to close contacts with a COVID patient.

The stress of working under these conditions over the past year is palpable. Even though they have and use personal protective equipment, each shift they leave work with the fear of bring home the virus to loved ones and their children. Through it all our outstanding team of EMS professionals has been resilient and fulfilled their mission to serve and protect our community. There is barely a week that goes by where I don’t receive a card or a note of thanks for the great work they do, and the compassionate care they provided.

As a way to say thank you the chiefs will be cooking and serving lunch for each of the duty shifts during EMS week. Please join me in thanking all of our first responders for the great work that they do each and every day. If you have any questions about this article or any fire department issue, you may contact me at [email protected] or 730-4201.

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