Kenneth Charles of Farmington was confirmed as the town’s police chief by selectmen at their meeting Tuesday night, Feb. 9. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser Buy this Photo

FARMINGTON — Tuesday night, Feb. 9, selectmen confirmed the appointment of Kenneth Charles as the new police chief.

Selectmen Matthew Smith, Michael Fogg and Scott Landry supported the appointment. Selectmen Stephan Bunker and Joshua Bell were not at the meeting.

A committee went through the hiring process, conducted some interviews and Charles came out on top, Town Manager Richard Davis said prior to the vote.

“I’ve offered him employment as our police chief,” Davis said. Under statute, the town manager shall appoint heads of departments subject to confirmation by the board when a department is not headed by a town manager, he noted.

“This is part of your statutory duties,” Davis said.

Charles thanked Davis and the board for the opportunity to sell himself as a candidate for the position.

“Having lived here for a number of years, I’ve grown to love and appreciate what we have to offer our community,” Charles said. “I have a lot of pride in the law enforcement community that we have serving our area.”

Before his appointment Charles was with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for 18 years, most recently as a detective. He said he has a long history of collaboration with the Farmington Police Department and its existing staff.

“I have a lot of respect for who is there and how they operate,” Charles said. “I look forward to the opportunity to share the experience and skills I have and at the same time offer something that maybe can take the department to another level of professionalism. I really hope that as we move forward we’re increasingly responsive to the community’s needs, community’s expectations.”

Charles doesn’t think there has been a more trying time for people to be in law enforcement. Priorities for him include identifying and recruiting, bringing in the absolute best in Farmington providing police services, and retaining those employees.

“The most disappointing would be to lose those employees without an opportunity to see them grow,” Charles said. “That’s for the benefit of the community.”

No major changes are expected, he said.

Charles thanked Deputy Chief Shane Cote for filling in as interim chief for an extended period of time. He spoke of how doing so meant shifting a lot of responsibilities to shift supervisors Sgt. Hastings and Sgt. Lyman and the patrolmen.

“I think they’ve done an outstanding job with a lot of social strife, the pandemic and staffing shortages.” Charles said. “It’s just been an unprecedented time. I think the department has performed quite admirably.

“I’m quite proud to have this opportunity and look forward to working with each and every one of you in the future,” he said.

“Welcome aboard,” Smith said. “We really look forward to working with you.”

Landry welcomed Charles.

“I wish you the best of luck and success,” Fogg said. “Hopefully the Town of Farmington will benefit from your leadership.”

Smith also thanked Cote.

“He did a great job filling in while we needed it and I look forward to continue working with him as well,” Smith said.

Davis told Charles his door would always be open, for any reason whatsoever.

Former police chief Jack Peck Jr. announced his resignation in October to become assistant director of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro.

In October, Town Manager Richard Davis appointed Deputy Chief Shane Cote to interim chief while the search for a successor was underway.

Serving on the police chief search committee were Davis, District Attorney Andrew Robinson, former Farmington patrol officer and former Sanford Police Chief Tom Jones, Selectmen Matthew Smith and Michael Fogg, University of Maine at Farmington President Edward Serna, pastor/banker Ryan Goding, Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox, retired Maine Criminal Justice Academy Director John Rogers and resident Pamela Poisson.

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