AUBURN — After a dozen years as the city’s police chief, Phillip Crowell Jr. got a new job Tuesday after City Manager Peter Crichton tapped him to serve as the assistant city manager.

Citing Crowell’s “outstanding leadership qualities,” Crichton said in a prepared statement, “The opportunity we all have to accomplish great things as a team is greater than ever.”

Crowell, a lifelong Auburn resident, joined the city’s police force in 1993 and has served as chief since 2006. He is retiring from the force before he begins his new assignment.

“Not only will Phil Crowell be ready to roll on day one of this position in city leadership, but I know he will continue to be a role model for youth in our community, showing how far hard work and dedication can take you in life,” Mayor Jason Levesque said in the release.

Crichton named Deputy Chief Jason Moen as the interim police chief effective Aug. 20 when Crowell starts in his new position.

Moen, who has been deputy chief for 12 years, “will continue the legacy of strong leadership of the police department,” Crichton said. He said he is sure the transition will be seamless and the department will be “in excellent hands with Moen at the helm.”

The city budget allocates $104,342 for the police chief’s salary. The deputy chief earns $92,075 annually.

“Crowell has built a team of leaders” among the police, the mayor said, and leaves a “legacy of strong leadership and team-building” that “positioned our police department as one of the most effective law enforcement agencies in the state.”

Crowell will fill a $97,000-a-year vacancy created when Denise Clavette left the position in June for one in Saco less than a year after accepting the job in Auburn.

The economic development director in Yarmouth at the time, Clavette was one of more than 40 applicants last year narrowed down by a selection team that included the city’s public services director, acting Assistant City Manager John Bubier and Crowell.

Bubier has filled in this summer as well, after Clavette’s departure.

The statement released Tuesday afternoon credited Crowell with a number of initiatives during his years as chief, including starting Auburn’s Citizens Police Academy, creating the first Somali Citizens Police Academy and the first Youth Court in Maine.

A year after he took the helm as chief, the Auburn department became one of just two accredited agencies in the state. In 2013, it became Maine’s  first law enforcement agency to participate in the Gold Standard accreditation process.

Crowell, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Maine, has been honored on a number of occasions, including “Chief of the Year” by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association in 2017.

Married, with two children, Crowell is involved with human trafficking initiatives locally and internationally, serving as a board member on the Foundation for Hope and Grace, co-founder of the Not Here — Justice in Action Network and as a member of the Maine Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force.

Noting the city’s sesquicentennial next year, Levesque said he is “excited to work with our new assistant city manager to move Auburn forward into the next 150 years.”

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Auburn Police Chief Phillip Crowell Jr., left, plans to retire soon and then start work Aug. 20 as Auburn’s next assistant city manager. Auburn Deputy Police Chief Jason Moen was named Tuesday as the city’s interim police chief, starting Aug. 20. (Submitted photos)

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