SKOWHEGAN — A 40-car escort led by an elite motorcycle unit from the New York City Police Department will take Somerset County Sheriff’s Cpl. Eugene Cole’s remains to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor Monday, where thousands from across the country will pay their respects.

Sheriff Dale Lancaster said the motorcycle unit will be followed by a hearse with Cole’s body, then by the immediate members of Cole’s family, the “family” of Somerset County officials and a Maine State Police cruiser — about 40 cars in all.

“From throughout the country, we’ve been contacted,” Lancaster said Thursday at his office in East Madison. “Different agencies are going to be sending representatives. We’re anticipating that it’s going to be a large event.”

Lancaster would not estimate the anticipated number of people who will attend visiting hours Sunday at the Skowhegan Armory or the service Monday, but he said there have been inquiries from as far away as California.

“Since Tuesday we’ve had teams preparing and mapping and planning how we’re going to approach the Cross Center and how, logistically, we’re going to deploy,” Lancaster said. “We’ve been told the Cross Center holds up to 14,000 people. This is not only for law enforcement, but it affects the communities in Somerset County and it affects everyone in the state of Maine.”

Cole was 61 and a 13-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office.


John D. Williams, 29, of Madison, is accused of shooting Cole and stealing his marked cruiser just after 1 a.m. April 25. Williams made his first court appearance Monday in Augusta and was charged with intentional or knowing murder. He is being held without bail at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham.

In the aftermath of Cole’s killing, Lancaster pointed out that “a lot of officers will say that they’re fine. I want to tell you that they’ve been all deeply affected — not only our agency, but all agencies have been deeply affected by what has happened, me included.”

Now, the law enforcement community is focusing on the upcoming services Sunday and Monday.

North Avenue in Skowhegan will be closed from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday from East Street to East Dyer Street. Residents of that area will be able to get to and from their homes.

Law enforcement will park at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds. Civilian parking will be available at Margaret Chase Smith School on Heselton Street. The path from the school to the armory has been cleared for people to use getting to the armory. The Kennebec Valley Community Action Program will be assisting with handicapped-accessibility.

“We’re calling it a walk-by,” Lancaster said of the Sunday service. “Gene is going to be at the armory for people in the community and law enforcement that want to pay their respects from 4 to 7 p.m. If it goes past 7 o’clock, we’re not closing the door. We will continue to allow people to pay their respects until everyone’s had a chance to do that.”


Somerset County Detective David Cole, Eugene Cole’s son, who was with the sheriff during Thursday’s interview, said the casket will be closed Sunday.

He said the family is in mourning.

“She’s holding up well,” he said of his mother, Sheryl Cole. “The very strong community support has been great and support from the Sheriff’s Office and the law enforcement community has been great.”

Speaking for himself, losing his father, a fellow law enforcement officer, David Cole said he is “doing well.”

David Cole held the rank of corporal — like his father — until Wednesday, when he was tagged to fill an open detective’s position at the Sheriff’s Office. Lancaster said the timing was coincidental.

On Monday, there will be a parking ban from 7 to 11 a.m. on Madison Avenue and Water Street in Skowhegan. Madison Avenue and Water Street will be closed to traffic from 10 to 10:30 a.m. as the procession taking Cole from Smart & Edwards Funeral Home in Skowhegan to Bangor moves through town to Route 2, according to Skowhegan Road Commissioner Greg Dore.


A celebration of Cole’s life will be held at noon Monday at the Cross Insurance Center, at 515 Main St., Bangor, with Chaplain Kevin Brooks officiating.

“The procession will come back through town — Water Street, Commercial Street and Madison Avenue — at approximately 4 p.m. to return Cpl. Cole to the funeral home,” Dore said. “Expect traffic delays.”

A state police honor guard will participate in services Sunday and Monday.

Lancaster said the Bangor Chamber of Commerce has helped with placing visitors from out of the area in local hotels.

Somerset County Administrator Dawn DiBlasi said she expects Monday’s celebration of Cole’s life to be an emotional one.

“On Monday, May 7, the county will say their final goodbyes to Cpl. Eugene Cole,” DiBlasi said in a statement. “He was loved by all and he will be missed by his co-workers and the citizens of Somerset County. It is clear to us that Cpl. Cole knew the meaning of community policing and was more than just a deputy in our community.


“While we cannot make sense of this tragedy, we can honor Cpl. Cole’s memory by following his example. We are told that even the people he arrested felt he was a fair, evenhanded deputy who gave respect and consideration to everyone he came in contact with. Thank you Cpl. Cole for your service to Somerset County. You will never be forgotten.”

A spokeswoman at the Cross Center referred all questions on venue preparation to Steve McCausland at the Maine Department of Public Safety.

McCausland said Friday that there will be designated areas for the news media.

Doors will open to the public at 8 a.m. Monday at the Cross Center and seating for the public will be on a first-come, first-served basis, McCausland said. There will be security checkpoints, large handbags are discouraged and no weapons will be allowed. The Cross Center’s website has specifics.

Bangor Police public information officer Wade Betters has issued a traffic advisory for Monday around the Cross Center.

The best advice for motorists not attending the services is to find alternate routes away from the area, McCausland said in an email. Hundreds of police cars will be arriving for the services, and traffic and parking will be a challenge, he said.

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