AUBURN – Members of the Auburn Police Department are mourning the sudden loss of a beloved retired chief of detectives they nicknamed “Inspector Clouseau” in honor of his French pride and tenacious nature as an long-time investigator.

Paul T. Renaud, 67, died suddenly Friday evening at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston. He retired as chief of detectives in 2003 following a 20-year career with the department.

“He performed diligent research and delivered the best service you could imagine,” said Auburn police Chief Phil Crowell. “He devoted a lot of dedication and commitment to learn the task and be the best at it.”

Crowell said that Renaud started with the department as a dispatcher and that his perfectionist nature eventually led him to overseeing the criminal investigation division. He said Renaud mentored him during his early days on the force when he served as the future chief’s supervisor.

“He was very hard-working, very dedicated,” said Cpl. Laurie Woodhead of her memories of Renaud. “He was very intense.”

After graduating from St. Dominic’s High School in 1959, Renaud joined the U.S. Air Force and served 20 years before returning to Lewiston with his wife, Josiane, and taking a position with the Auburn Police Department. Renaud served overseas during the Vietnam war and remained in contact with former squadron members.

He also kept in close contact with his friends at the Auburn Police Department.

“He really knew how to talk to people,” Crowell said. “He was just a great man.”

Others, like officer Paul Caouette, describe Renaud as one of the hardest working men they’ve ever encountered, especially when it came to cracking tough cases. Caouette said the retired chief of detectives gave every case 100 percent, adding that he was also involved with the police union and benefit association.

Life after retirement for Renaud focused on hobbies like candlestick bowling and gardening. Most important, he was focused on his family. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Pierre and Michael, a sister and several nieces and nephews.

“He was a dedicated police officer and he was dedicated to his family,” Caouette said. “He was just a good guy. He was very dedicated to the job and to his family.”

Memorial services will be held 11 a.m. Monday at the Pinette & Lynch Funeral Home in Lewiston.

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