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FKPD seeking new officer following DeLena’s move to County sheriff’s office

FORT KENT, Maine — The local police department is recruiting after an officer resigned to take a job with the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Tom Pelletier said the Fort Kent Police Department is looking to hire a full-time officer, although he also will consider applicants for a part-time position. The department currently has five full-time officers including the chief, and a handful of reserve officers.

Officer Michael DeLena, who served with the FKPD for five years, will leave the department at the end of February to join the sheriff’s office.

DeLena said the decision to leave the FKPD is “one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

“Chief Pelletier has been a mentor to me and I’m thankful for the experience he bestowed upon me, “ he said. “The community of Fort Kent has been nothing but supportive and welcoming during my tenure …”

He added, however, that the sheriff’s office “is a great agency and their benefit package is attractive and was ultimately what (led) me to my decision.”

Pelletier said that DeLena has been an asset to the department.

“We are certainly losing a good, qualified officer and we hate to see him go, but I understand he’s looking to make a better long term decision for himself,” the chief said.

The FKPD does not participate in the Maine state retirement program, which Pelletier said is detrimental to hiring and retaining officers.

“It’s extremely tough on small departments to get qualified people today. Departments across the country are experiencing this same challenge,” the chief said. “The Fort Kent Police Department needs to be competitive with other agencies throughout the state and country in order to retain our officers. We need to be competitive in salaries and benefits.”

Pelletier said that he would prefer to hire a police academy graduate, or someone who has completed a basic law enforcement training program.

He added that military veterans are encouraged to apply for the position, and that Fort Kent is a positive place to live and work.

“We have a very supportive community. We have a young team that is very involved with the community,” Pelletier said. “Yes this job has certain risks and dangers, but one of the rewards is knowing you can make a difference in the community.”

The chief expects to cover existing shifts with overtime and some reserve officers as best he can until a replacement can be found.

Candidates will be required to successfully pass a background check, a medical, psychological, and polygraph examination and must also successfully pass the Maine Criminal Justice Academy alert test as a condition of employment, according to Pelletier.

For more information call the Fort Kent Police Department at (207) 834-5678 or send an email to Pelletier at policechief@fortkent.org.

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