The Maine Department of Public Safety has named a new director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency and is asking the Legislature to confirm a nomination for a new state fire marshal.

Commissioner Michael Sauschuck announced Wednesday that, with the approval of Gov. Janet Mills, he has appointed Richard “Rick” Desjardins as the next MDEA director and nominated Richard “Rich” McCarthy to serve as fire marshal.

Rich McCarthy. Maine Department of Public Safety.

Desjardins currently serves as the director of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, while McCarthy is assistant fire marshal and a 22-year veteran of the Office of State Fire Marshal.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Rick and Rich over the last four years, and I’ve always found them to be consummate professionals who work tirelessly for their agencies and the great state of Maine,” Sauschuck said in a statement. “I’m excited to see them continue their public service in these new roles.”

McCarthy is being nominated to succeed former Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas, who retired in December following 22 years at the Department of Public Safety.

McCarthy’s nomination is subject to review by the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee at a hearing on Feb. 27 and will require confirmation by the Maine Senate.


In his current role, McCarthy oversees the Inspections and Prevention Division of the fire marshal’s office. The division inspects buildings and is responsible for reviewing plans for new and renovated commercial buildings, verifying Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, and inspecting mechanical rides and anything licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services.

“To have the opportunity to lead the Office of State Fire Marshal and work to prevent loss of life and property for those that live, work and visit the State of Maine is truly an honor,” McCarthy said in the statement. “I look forward to working with the agencies within the fire service and our law enforcement and community partners to make our great state a safer place.”

Rick Desjardins. Maine Department of Public Safety.

Desjardins is being appointed to succeed former MDEA Director Roy McKinney, who retired in December following 24 years with the department. He has a background in law enforcement, criminal justice and public safety and worked for 23 years for the Brunswick Police Department.

“I’m honored and humbled to be selected to be the next director of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency,” Desjardins said. “I look forward to working with the exceptional professionals within the agency while building upon our existing relationships with our law enforcement community.

“I also hope to further enhance our partnerships with the prevention, treatment and recovery community so that we can all work together to save lives by tackling Maine’s drug crisis.”


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