AUGUSTA – In nearly 11 years as a state trooper, Scott Stevens has patrolled some of the most rural land in Maine. He’s solved crimes that seemed unsolvable and smoothly resolved a fight one person planned to settle with a knife. And he’s taken it all in stride.
But on Tuesday, the soft-spoken police officer turned red at thought of doing one thing: accepting the Trooper of the Year award.
“There are a lot of other people who deserve it,” he said as the governor, the public safety commissioner, 200 current and former police officers and his family gathered for the awards ceremony. “This is very humbling.”
Stevens grew up in northern Franklin County, graduating from Mt. Abram Regional High School in Strong. After becoming a state trooper in 1995, he was assigned to police the same region.
Stevens, 37, has stayed there since – patrolling, volunteering, raising his family.
“He knows everybody. Everybody knows Scott,” said Col. Craig Poulin, chief of the state police.
Stevens has done the traditional police work, solving a string of camp burglaries, for example, and resolving a heated argument between a knife-wielding landlord and his tenant. But he also volunteers with the historical society and other community groups. He regularly spends time at Mt. Abram Regional High School, speaking to classes, volunteering as a mentor, offering advice to students who ask.
Principal Jeanne Tucker thinks of him in C’s: compassionate, caring, committed to the community.
“If he can see a student needs a word of wisdom instead of a strong hand, that’s what he’ll use,” she said.
Although he has a full-time patrol, a family and community commitments, Stevens also trains new troopers and teaches at the police academy.
“He’s one of those troopers that other troopers look up to,” said Lt. Dale Lancaster, Stevens’ boss and the man who nominated him for the award.
This was the second time that Stevens had been nominated for the award, one of the most prestigious presented to a state police officer. He beat 10 others to win.
Stevens knew he’d won before attending the annual state police awards ceremony. But even as he waited with his family, he couldn’t believe the honor was his.
He loved the region, he said. He just tried to watch over it and treat the people there with respect.
“I have one of the nicest corners of the state to police in,” he said. As part of the honor, Stevens received a plaque, a commemorative license plate and a uniform pin. He also received a standing ovation.
Although he’d been asked to prepare a short speech, no one prompted him to speak at the podium. So he left the stage quietly, with a shy smile. He wasn’t about to keep the spotlight any longer than he had to.
But he’d had words in mind.
“This is probably the proudest, most humbling day of my life,” he said.