Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre, right, chats with patrol officer Larry Angis, left, and James Penney, center, during a surprise reception marking Beaupre’s 50 years with Biddeford Police Department on Friday morning, Nov. 19. Tammy Wells Photo

BIDDEFORD — Like most people who have lived in one community for a very long time, there is likely not much Roger Beaupre doesn’t know about his hometown of Biddeford. Throw in the fact he is the city’s police chief, and he has reason to know even more.

But there is one thing that caught him by surprise, as was intended. On Friday, Nov. 19, people from throughout the Police Department and from other city offices gathered in a conference room on the second floor of Biddeford Police Department to wish him well on his 50th anniversary as a law enforcement officer with the city of Biddeford.

Yes, 50 years. Beaupre joined Biddeford Police Department Nov. 19, 1971.

He was sent up to the conference room on a ruse Friday morning, and opened the door to a rousing cheer.

“I knew when I was 15 that I wanted to be a police officer,” Beaupre said. After high school, the Biddeford native joined the U.S. Air Force, and served as a security police officer supervising a crew of 15 before coming home, finishing his hitch in 3 years, 8 months, and, 26 days, he said.

He applied to the Biddeford Police Department and was hired. About 10 years later, he was named chief.

In an impromptu interview Friday morning, Beaupre said his concern from day one was training and education — when he arrived at Biddeford Police Department, none was available, he said, and so he was glad to have had law enforcement training in the military.

Then the state law changed, mandating that law enforcement officers undergo training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy — he went in 1972, and was one of the first few Biddeford officers to do so, he said.

He took other courses, and then went to college, arranging his work shifts so he could attend.

“I wanted to educate myself, and so I did it on my own,” he said. Starting in 1973, he attended classes at the University of Southern Maine in Portland a couple of days a week, and more in the summer, earning a degree in criminal justice magna cum laude, and minoring in English and sociology. Later, in 1978, he earned a master’s degree in business administration through Nasson College and continued to take classes in labor and management and the like.

He recalled an incident of an officer hired not long after he was, 50 years ago. The officer came to him with a handful of bullets. He had loaded his service revolver, and asked Beaupre what to do with the ammunition that was left over.

“I remember thinking ‘this is ludicrous,'” said Beaupre.

These days, he heads a department of about 85 people which includes sworn officers, dispatchers and support staff and he remains a strong proponent of training — which is good not only for the officers but the city as well, he said.

“We serve a community,” said Beaupre.

He was greeted by his officers and staff with handshakes and congratulations on achieving 50 years in law enforcement in the city where he was born — and some called for him to serve 50 more.

“Thank you for 50 years of dedicated service to the police department, the city, and all of us,” said Deputy Chief JoAnne Fisk.

Beaupre smiled at those gathered, and kept it brief.

“Thanks for being here,” he said, and soon thereafter, it was back to work.

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