AUBURN — Police Chief Phillip Crowell Jr. has been named Chief of the Year by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association at its annual awards banquet Friday in South Portland.

“The Maine Chiefs of Police Association is an amazing organization for law enforcement agencies in the state of Maine, and to be recognized by my colleagues is very humbling,” Crowell said.

Crowell is a 24-year veteran of the Auburn Police Department and has been responsible for many initiatives that have led to the Auburn Police Department’s being ranked among the state’s best.

“The city of Auburn has provided me with incredible opportunities and I am blessed to be able to serve my community,” he said. “This recognition as Chief of the Year is not just for me but also for my staff, family and community. Without them, I couldn’t do what I do.”

Crowell was the driving force behind the new Maine Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. He also initiated the opening of the PAL (Police Activities League) Center and started Auburn’s Citizen Police Academy and the first Somali Citizens Academy.

 Crowell also led the department through its initial international accreditation process. The agency is the first department in Maine to be recognized with “Gold Standard Accreditation.”

Crowell is involved in efforts to fight human trafficking locally and internationally, serving as a board member on the Foundation for Hope and Grace. He is also co-founder of the Not Here — Justice in Action Network, which works to provide education and resources for at-risk children, and a member of the Maine Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force.

Crowell has received numerous awards in the past, including Officer of the Year from the National Exchange Club and the City of Auburn’s “Champion for Maine Children 2014.”

“I am fortunate to have outstanding people within the police department who serve the citizens of Auburn,” Crowell said. “Law enforcement face challenges every day, and my wife and family know firsthand these impacts. For this, they are my true champions.”

Auburn Police Chief Phil Crowell announces the five-day drug awareness campaign, HEROINITIATIVE, at Auburn Hall in 2015. (Sun Journal file photo)

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