Deputy Chief Andrew Booth has been chosen as the next Chief, following Mike Field’s retirement later this month. Courtesy photo / City of Bath

Nineteen years after beginning his law enforcement career in Bath, Andrew Booth is getting ready to take the reins as chief.

Now serving as deputy chief, Booth will take over for Michael Field when Field retires at the end of the month.

Booth is originally from a Vermont-based “old-school farming family” and  moved to Maine with his college sweetheart who is now his wife. He hadn’t hadn’t always pictured himself in law enforcement, he said, but he is happy his career took that turn.

“My plan was to go to law school, but I joined the National Guard and had a lot of cop friends and felt I wanted to pursue law enforcement,” he said.

I like having a job where I feel like I’m giving back and helping people,” said Booth, who still serves with the National Guard. 

Booth said Field mentored him “throughout my career and police ranks.”

“He wanted me to be his successor,” Booth said. “I learned as much as I could while he was here and when he leaves I think I’m ready to take over the reins.”

Booth worked as a patrol officer, then became a supervisor, a detective sergeant and, eventually, deputy chief in the 19-member department.

“I have worked alongside Deputy Chief Booth for 18 years, of which the last year and a half he served as my second-in-command,” Field said in a press release. “When I choose a deputy chief, I look to the future and see if that person can lead the department as police chief. Deputy Chief Booth is that person. He will reinforce the agency’s mission statement and values along with the community’s expectations of professional policing.”

Booth said his priorities include an expansion of community policing, getting state accreditation for the department and filling vacancies.

His first priority is to “continue the work of Mike Fields and past chiefs” by strengthening the community policing program and reintroducing events like Coffee With a Cop as the pandemic wanes.

“We are known for our community policing,” Booth said. “We have good interactions with our citizens. I will continue and build upon that program.”

Booth also hopes the department this year will complete the Maine Law Enforcement Accreditation Program,  a certification program that shows Bath police have and will continue to follow and adopt recognized best practices in policing. If certified, Bath will join accredited departments in Auburn, Biddeford, Old Town, Orono, Falmouth, Augusta, Berwick and South Portland.

He’d like to fill three vacancies in the department with people who grew up in the city.

“We’ve been lucky recruiting in the area, people who grew up and went to school here. That’s our best result so we want to continue that recruiting from within, and recruiting former military,” Booth said.

When he applied for a job at the department in 2002, he said, there were over 30 other candidates. Now, he said, the department is “lucky to get one or two” when it advertises a position.

“We have a lot of retiring officers,” he said. “In the next years we will have even more and the pool of potential candidates is a lot smaller than it used to be. We are competing with other employers in the area, everyone is looking for workers. Recent public opinion towards law enforcement has made it more challenging.”

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