Buxton Police Chief Kevin Collins, right, and Frank Costa, the department’s executive assistant, display the accreditation plaque awarded Jan. 24. Robert Lowell / American Journal

Buxton police officers are on patrol with up-to-date training and a select status.

The department has been recognized as one among 26 law enforcement agencies in the state to achieve accreditation. Buxton joins Westbrook, Gorham, Falmouth, Yarmouth and the York County Sherriff’s Department on the elite list.

A plaque dated Jan. 24 reads, “For serving as a model of excellence in law enforcement and successfully meeting the professional standards established by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association and the Maine Law Enforcement Accreditation Program, Buxton Police Department has reached the highest level of professionalism and integrity.”

To qualify for selection by the Maine Law Enforcement Accreditation Program, Buxton was required to update its policies and training for its entire department of 11 full-time officers, including Chief Kevin Collins, a sergeant, a detective and five full-time dispatchers.

“All our policies had to be redone,” Collins said Tuesday.

Updated training included proper evidence handling, use of force and active shooter response.


“Every officer, every dispatcher had to read all policies and complete training,” Collins said.

He cited the value of training even in what some nonprofessionals might see as a routine traffic stop.

“You have no idea who that is,” Collins said. “That’s where training comes in.”

The Buxton Department initiated the accreditation process in 2021 and last summer ramped up its drive to qualify.

Civilian employee Frank Costa, a Buxton police executive assistant, helped Collins get the department shipshape with additional help from Shawn O’Leary of public safety advocacy firm Dirigo Safety of Auburn, who completed an on-site evaluation in November.

The MLEAP program is managed by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association.

“The Maine Law Enforcement Accreditation Program is an opportunity for police agencies in Maine to demonstrate their commitment to excellence and compliance with the highest standards in law enforcement. These standards, developed by Maine Law Enforcement professionals, are designed to help agencies effectively serve their communities and protect individuals’ rights,” according to the association.

The department has “mandatory training every year,” Collins said, and Buxton’s force is at full strength right now.

The Maine Chiefs of Police Association developed the rigorous accreditation program about 10 years ago to recognize police departments that adhere to nationwide and statewide best practices.

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