Retiring Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre talked about his career in a recent interview. His last day is Wednesday, Jan. 25. Tammy Wells photo

BIDDEFORD — Police Chief Roger Beaupre retired this week from the Biddeford Police Department — Wednesday, Jan. 25 was to be his last day – after more than five decades on the job.

Apart from a hitch in the U.S. Air Force where he served as a security police officer supervising a crew of 15, Beaupre has worked all of his 51-year law enforcement career in Biddeford, the city where he was born and raised, and lives to this day. He became chief in 1980, nine years into the job. His focus throughout, he said, has been on the safety of the Biddeford community and the safety of the officers who work for the police department.

In an interview last week, Beaupre, 73, was asked what he was most proud of in his tenure as chief, and training topped the list.

Training improves the quality of service to the community, Beaupre said. He pointed out that the department had not received a use of force complaint in five years.

The Biddeford Police Department was one of the first to employ a school resource officer, the first statewide to install mobile data terminals in police cruisers, and the first to contract community engagement specialists to help people in crisis or with other issues, he said.

“I pride myself on being creative, innovative and planning ahead of the curve, evaluating trends in law enforcement,” he said. Beaupre saw the need for social workers to engage with residents with mental health and other issues as early as 1995. He worked with the University of New England at the time, but the position then was not properly funded and, he recalled, some city councilors of the day did not see the value of the program.


“Now, it’s a different mindset,” he said.

He is proud the police department achieved national accreditation in 2018 and was reaccredited in 2022.

“The Chief’s dedication to the community and the police department is unparalleled,” said Mayor Alan Casavant. “His tenure has been signified by modernization, creativity, and adaptation to changing times. The Biddeford Police Department is one of the top law enforcement agencies in the state of Maine because of his vision and attention to detail.”

Wells Police Chief Jo-Ann Putnam, president of District 1 (York County) of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, a police officer since 1986, and chief since 2008, said longevity can be an asset in police work. “People feel more comfortable with you,” she said.

Putnam said Beaupre was someone she could always call when she had a question.

“He has a wealth of knowledge,” she said.


Beaupre began working for the department before any substantial training programs were offered in Maine. The mandatory police training act was passed in the early 1970s, and he was among those attending a new program at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in 1972. He later earned a degree in criminal justice magna cum laude, minoring in English and sociology, from the University of Southern Maine. In 1978, he earned a master’s degree in business administration through Nasson College and continued to take classes in labor, management, and human resources.

The department, which sports 50 or more police officers, plus dispatchers and administrative staff, in total about 83 people, handles 80,000 calls for service annually.

“I wanted to make this a class act,” he said. “There were a lot of struggles along the way.” As well, he said, at times, there was resistance from some elected officials.

In recalling his days as a young officer, he remembers Biddeford sporting 65 to 70 neighborhood bars and, he said, Saturday nights were very busy for the police department.

“We spent the night going from bar call to bar call,” he recalled. “It was nice to work on Sundays because the bars were not open.”

He also recalled in those early days that the police department was required to provide an officer to assist with parking and help people cross the street for church services, tying up officers for hours at a time. He said he recalled thinking that when he was in a position to do something about it, he would — and he did.


Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre, right, shown in 2021, is retired as of Wednesday, Jan. 25, after 51 years with the department. Photo by Tammy Wells

“I felt it was better to use our resources in a different way,” he said.

In the early days, Biddeford operated with a three-member elected police commission, who kept a tight rein on the department and those who led it. Over time, Beaupre said, the commission grew more comfortable with his leadership.

There have been difficult periods. There were accusations that two former Biddeford police officers had engaged in sexual abuse of teen boys years earlier. Those complaints were turned over to the office of the district attorney and attorney general for investigation. No criminal charges ensued. Federal civil suits were filed against the officers in question; Beaupre and the city of Biddeford were named as defendants and both were later dismissed from the suits.

“It was tough,” said Beaupre of that period. But, he said, he had the support of the city council, the police department, and his family.

Looking back over his career, Beaupre said he believes the past 10 years have been the most productive, and that the department’s command staff, supervisory staff and officers on the road are top notch.

JoAnne Fisk, who has been with the department for 27 years, was named deputy chief in 2006. She will be acting police chief as of Thursday, Jan. 26 while the city chooses a new chief.


She said Beaupre puts the needs of the men and women of the police department ahead of his own.

“He ensures they have the best of equipment at their fingertips at any given time, whether its laptops in the cruisers, radar units or cruisers themselves; if there’s a problem he fixes it, he doesn’t delay it,” Fisk said.

She described Beaupre is an introvert by nature; a “doer” she said, whose work interests are for the city of Biddeford and the men and women who work for the department.

“He’s not a politician,” said Fisk. “He’s a cop.”

Beaupre said in retirement he plans to spend time and travel with his wife Penny and is thinking about the future — and whether he will make a run for city council, something he has not yet decided.

He thanked people for the support over the years.

He thought for a bit, and then penned a statement:

“I’m not an attention seeker, and never have been,” said Beaupre. “Providing equipment, training, and other support to make sure that officers return home at the end of their shift in the same condition as when they reported to work is especially important to me. I’m about doing the work, achieving results, and protecting the community. I’m less impressed with the flash and braggadocio. We do the work!”

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