New chief takes reins of U.S. Border Patrol in Maine

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BANGOR — The U.S. Border Patrol in Maine welcomed a new chief Wednesday in 29-year law enforcement veteran Daniel Hiebert.

Hiebert, who started his border patrol career in Texas in 1986 after a stint in the U.S. Army, took his oath of office as the new chief patrol agent for the border patrol’s Houlton Sector, which encompasses the state of Maine.

“This is the culmination of a long career. I still have quite a ways to go,” said Hiebert after a change-of-command ceremony at the Army National Guard Regional Training Institute in Bangor. “I’m looking forward to getting involved with the state of Maine and Houlton Sector and doing what we can do to make sure the people of Maine feel safe knowing that their borders are protected.”

Hiebert replaces acting Chief Patrol Agent Alfredo Casillas, who will revert to his post of deputy chief patrol agent. Casillas has served in that role since former Chief Patrol Agent Joseph Mellia retired last year.

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Hiebert said the Houlton Sector is unique in that it is the only one of the border patrol’s 20 sectors nationwide that comprises only one state. Houlton Sector maintains stations in Calais, Fort Fairfield, Houlton, Jackman, Rangeley and Van Buren.

“When I speak of Houlton Sector, I speak of Maine,” he said.

Arriving in Houlton in May, Hiebert said he has not yet lived through a Maine winter, adding that he is hopeful the winter ends up being like the “much vaunted” black flies that didn’t really make their presence known this year.

“I’m not looking forward to that part, but I am looking forward to living in Maine for quite a while,” he said.

Hiebert is just three years from mandatory retirement. He said he would not mind staying in Maine after retirement, though.

“It’s a beautiful state. I like it quite a bit,” he said.

Hiebert acknowledged the challenges presented by the vast wooded areas of northern Maine as well as the state’s coastline.

“It is a challenge. We are looking at employing some high technology means to look at that, but the risk is actually relatively low,” he said.

As chief patrol agent, Hiebert said one of his main duties will be to continually look at the “threat picture facing the border environment” and making adjustments to the deployments as needed.

Wednesday’s ceremony was attended by Chief of U.S. Border Patrol Michael Fisher, who commands all border patrol activities nationwide. Fisher administered Hiebert’s oath of office.

Quoting World War II Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Fisher told attendees that “‘no man is entitled to the blessings of liberty unless he be vigilant in its preservation.’”

“I stand here before you today and can attest with confidence and without a doubt that Chief Hiebert … is entitled to that liberty,” he continued. “He is not, however, entitled to be a chief in the United State Border Patrol. That, ladies and gentleman, he has earned.”

Hiebert served most recently as deputy chief patrol agent for the Buffalo Sector in Buffalo, N.Y., a position he rose to in 2008. Before that, he served as chief patrol agent of the Detroit Sector in Detroit, Mich.

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