LEWISTON — For the past four months, Michael Bussiere has been serving the city as acting police chief. On Friday, he should be able to dispense with the “acting” part and go with plain old “chief.”

At a ceremony in City Hall, Bussiere is expected to be sworn in as the department’s new top cop, a position he has held on a temporary basis since May. Though the move does not become official until after the ceremony, few will be surprised by the decision from city leaders. Bussiere spent all of a 19-year police career in Lewiston and the past 6½ as second in command. In between, he was a beat officer, a drug agent, a detective and a sergeant.

“He’s a cop’s cop,” said Lewiston police Cpl. Matt Cashman. “This is a guy who got started on foot patrol and came up through the ranks. He’s got a long and intimate knowledge of the city and it makes him uniquely qualified to lead the department.”

Since Bussiere took over for outgoing Chief William Welch in May, he has gone out on night patrol with his beat officers just to stay acquainted with the workings of the city. It is a move that impressed many, from the patrol division up.

“He came in one night dressed up in the same uniform the rest of us were wearing,” said Officer Tom Murphy, president of the patrol union. “Not a shirt and tie, just a police uniform. That’s impressive and it sums it up right there, that one gesture.”

The officers under Bussiere’s command see it as perfect versatility: The new chief is a man who has a half dozen years of administrative experience but who is still perfectly capable on the street level.

“He’s spent his entire career here and he’s still willing to go out there and check the pulse of the city, the vibe of the city,” Cashman said. “He’s got the respect of patrol, the respect of the criminal investigation division, the respect of the supervisors. This bodes well for the department.”

Bussiere on Thursday night could not comment on the matter of his swearing in. It had not yet become official, after all, and he is a man bound by rules and laws.

In May, when he took over as the temporary chief, however, Bussiere expressed optimism that the department was going to continue to thrive.

“I’m obviously biased. I think the Lewiston Police Department is the best in the state,” he said. “As acting interim chief, I’ll be looking to keep it that way.”

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