Dakota Wilhoite of Clinton, left, listens Thursday to Rumford Police Chief Tony Milligan address the Select Board on his recommendation to hire Wilhoite as a full-time officer. The 29-year-old has served with the Maine Army National Guard and is a graduate of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — The Select Board voted 5-0 Thursday to hire Dakota Wilhoite, 29, of Clinton as a police officer.

The decision was with conditions that he complete a background check, psychological evaluation and polygraph test to the satisfaction of Police Chief Tony Milligan.

Wilhoite has family ties to Rumford and the surrounding area, Milligan told the board. “He is in the works of selling his Clinton home and moving his family here in Rumford to make a life and career here, hoping to serve the residents of Rumford.”

In 2005, Wilhoite moved to the Augusta area, where he worked in the fast food and retail industry. That was when he “realized that he wanted something more and began taking steps to begin his career track in law enforcement,” the chief said.

From 2014 to 2019, Wilhoite served as a specialist in the Maine Army National Guard, where he completed combat engineer, mountain warfare and squad designated marksman school with the 251st Engineer Company based in Norway.

Simultaneously, he worked as a corrections officer at the Kennebec County Jail in Augusta, where he provided building security and control and management of prisoners. He was a field training officer and served as acting corporal when no other supervisor was available, Milligan said.


Wilhoite received basic and advanced crisis intervention team training, according to Milligan.

In 2019, with no law enforcement training, Wilhoite had the opportunity to work for the August Police Department under the supervision of a former academy instructor. He learned some basic skills before moving on the Fairfield Police Department, where he received field training and attended the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s basic law enforcement training program. He graduated from there and earned his certification as a full-time law enforcement officer in Maine.

Milligan said Wilhoite has also completed a combat lifesaver course, is certified in CPR and is a certified Maine Criminal Justice Academy instructor in the mechanics of arrest, restraint and control.

It’s the second consecutive meeting the board has approved hiring an officer. On Dec. 1, Kier Simmons of Andover was unanimously approved as a full-time officer, contingent passing a psychological evaluation.

If these hirings prove successful, Milligan said it will leave just the drug task force position open, which he held before being named chief Dec. 19, 2019.

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