Kennebunk Police Officers Lorenzo Bacchi and Kristin Kirby worked for the New York Police Department, but each decided to make the move to Maine. Bacchi joined Kennebunk police in November, Kirby in mid-February.  Tammy Wells photo

KENNEBUNK – What is there to like about working for a small-town police department?

Ask two former New York City Police Department officers and they will tell you just about everything.

It is appreciation for what they do, from the agency and from the residents, and so much more.

That is the word from Lorenzo Bacchi, who joined the agency last fall, and Kristin Kirby, who arrived in mid-February.

Bacchi, 34, was a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2006-2015, and his service included deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. He then joined NYPD, where he worked in Queens South for his seven years with the department in patrol, plain clothes, and for the SWAT/Rescue team in a precinct with 350 officers.

“It was a very busy area,” said Bacchi.


By contrast, Kennebunk Police Department has 24 officers.

“This is my forever home; the one where I’m staying,” Bacchi said on a recent day, fresh off the overnight shift. “I love it, the atmosphere is so nice and pleasant.”

“It’s a better quality of life, a slower pace, it’s safer,” said Kirby, 32, who was a youth coordinator in Bayside Queens in her seven-year career with NYPD. She has been undergoing field training in her job in Kennebunk, learning the community and the policies and procedures. “It’s a lot different in the best way,” she said.

Maine does have a slower pace, and most believe a better quality of life – and Kennebunk has been rated the safest community in the state for several years by various entities. In 2022, it was named the safest community in Maine by SafeWise, a home safety and security firm, which noted its zero percent violent crime rate, among other factors.

The two officers both have extensive training. Bacchi graduated from the NYPD Emergency Services Unit Specialized Training School, undertaking 10 months of SWAT and rescue training, held a New York EMT license and was a volunteer firefighter.

Kirby has been trained in counter terrorism, active shooter response and crisis intervention.


Kennebunk Police Chief Bob MacKenzie said to hire certified officers from other states, Maine departments apply for waivers from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, which takes out-of-state training into consideration. Kirby, who arrived about three weeks ago, recently completed an online course about Maine law as part of the process to work for a law enforcement agency here.

Maine Criminal Justice Academy Assistant Director Jack Peck said there has been an uptick in the number of waivers granted over the past several years. In 2019 there were 13; 21 in 2020; 20 in 2021 – and 45 in 2022.

Peck put the increase down to several factors – Maine is a safer place, the officer may be looking for a career change, merits of small town vs. big city among them.

“They’re from all over,” said Peck. “New York Police Department, New Mexico, Florida, a couple of officers from Baltimore, two from Texas – all over the US. Some are very new to the career, others are 20-year veterans.”

Officers from other states must meet justice academy standards: they must have completed law enforcement training that compares to Maine’s 18-week program, undergo testing on their knowledge of Maine law, and more.

In Kennebunk, MacKenzie said there are two officer vacancies, and there have been others over the past several years – long timers retire, and some officers move on to other communities. It is an issue that Kennebunk and communities across Maine and in other states are coping with as they try to attract and retain law enforcement officers.


Peck said as of Dec. 21, there were 300 police officer vacancies statewide – including Maine State Police, municipal and county law enforcement.

“Two well-trained officers with more than seven years of experience that can fit onto your community – I think that works well for the agency and for the town,” said Peck of Kennebunk’s two newest officers.

Kirby and Bacchi are among other officers who have come to Kennebunk from other states. Officer Lawrin Demo, hired in 2021, is originally from Maine but was a police officer in Germantown, Ohio, before returning to his home state,  and Frank Marcotti, originally of Massachusetts, worked as a reserve officer in York before joining the Kennebunk Police Department the same year.

Bacchi left NYPD for another Maine police agency and was later referred to Kennebunk by a friend.

“I knew I wanted to do public service since I was a kid,” said Bacchi, the first in his family to be employed in law enforcement – his other family members are small business owners. “A lot of my dad’s friends were cops and I looked up to them, and their stories sounded intriguing.”

After moving to Maine, Bacchi kept in touch with friends at NYPD, and that is how Kirby came to apply.


She has police work in her blood.

“I am from a police family,” said Kirby. “My dad was a chief in Nassau County, on Long Island, my uncle was a detective for NYPD and my brother is currently a police officer for NYPD.” She said she was always interested in police work from when she was a child.

“I love that they picked our community to come to,” said MacKenzie. He said Bacchi and Kirby will learn from officers in Kennebunk – and officers here will learn from them. “It’s a different pace here, and it is what you make of it.”

MacKenzie said his goal is to determine the interests his two newest officers have and have them pursue them.

”I’ve never felt more welcome,” said Kirby of her new community.

“I love it,” said Bacchi.

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