AUBURN — Auburn Police Department officers welcomed home one of their own Tuesday as Scott Laliberte returned from deployment in Afghanistan.

Laliberte is a member of the Maine Army National Guard’s 133rd Engineer Battalion. A total of 178 members left on its third overseas deployment last August, working to downsize bases as the United States prepares to withdraw remaining forces.

Auburn police joined Maine State Police and Kennebec County officers Tuesday in greeting the soldiers with an escort at the Maine/New Hampshire line.

“Today went great,” said Auburn Deputy Chief Jason Moen. The escort included three Auburn officers, two motorcycles and a cruiser. Between 15 and 20 vehicles escorted the troops into Maine, Moen said. “We had officers meet (Laliberte) in Augusta where we were able to see and talk to him. He’s excited to be home with his family.”

Laliberte, of Norway, has worked for Auburn police for about nine years. “He left us last spring,” Moen said. “It’s great to have him back, safe and sound. The Police Department is one big, large family. When somebody takes off for a year, especially into Afghanistan, it’s always on the back of your mind wondering how he’s doing, is he safe.”

Laliberte will get some time to reconnect with his wife and two sons, Cameron and Donovan, before returning to work, Moen said.

Also a member of the 133rd are Sgt. Ryan Kelly of Lewiston and Sgt. Dana Gross of Levant, whose “flat daddy” images were carried to a recent Brad Paisley concert in Bangor.

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