OPD Officer Michael Rioux A.M. Sheehan

OXFORD — The Oxford Police Department has welcomed new Officer Michael Rioux, 28, of Mechanic Falls into its fold.

Rioux joined the department in March as a full time officer.

Having grown up in Westbrook, Rioux graduated from Westbrook High School in 2013 and went to work for the Windham Correctional Center for “a couple of years.” He then moved on to the Sabbatus Police Department for a year where he was a reserve officer during the COVID pandemic. From there he went to the Mechanic Falls Police Department.

Mechanic Falls sent him to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. Upon graduating, he served with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office for a few months before joining the Oxford Police Department where he finally felt he’d found his law enforcement match.

Rioux brings a special understanding and skill set to the department.

“I grew up in a family of addiction,” he explains. “My dad died battling addiction as did a cousin. My fiance’s brother also died from addiction last December. We were good friends.” Other members of his family, he says, are battling addiction.


“I moved out when I was 16 and lived with a friend’s family. They were on the fire side of public safety and her uncle got me my first ride along with South Portland Police Department.” He was hooked.

He did an internship while in high school with SPPD as well as took part in a number of training scenarios and knew that law enforcement was what he wanted to do with his life.

He considers his skill strength to be communication.

“Working in a prison you learn to talk to people. You have no weapons … the only weapon is your voice.” Rioux believes every officer should start their career as a corrections officer to learn to communicate.

Officers who just go directly into law enforcement as a police officer “don’t really learn to de-escalate situations. [In a prison setting] you learn not to judge people on their actions.

“OPD lets you do what you’re good at and my strength is de-escalation…talking to people.”


He explains that if they are called to a crisis situation other officers know he is good at talking and will offer to have him take over.

In addition to this skill, Rioux has trained in water rescue, first aid, field sobriety, crisis intervention and has received the National Medal of Honor for helping someone out of a fire in Sabbatus.

Father of three daughters, Rioux also enjoys his dog and cat, fishing on Sebago Lake and cookouts. The rest of the time, he says, he is working.

In addition to his law enforcement training he is also a licensed funeral attendant working for Chandler Funeral Home for the past three years. “My best friend in high school was doing this so I started in Portland.”

Once he retires from law enforcement, he says, he wants to become a funeral director.

However, he has a lot he wants to do before then.


“My hope is to start an ALANON program in the Oxford Hills and maybe, one day, be part of the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. I would like to become a sergeant … I enjoy teaching.”

However first, he says, he wants five years on the road to build his strengths before advancing. And he wants to stay here.

“I’m too much of a people person. I wouldn’t like a big city [police force] … not everything is about arrests.

“Oxford Police Department is one big family. I feel like I’ve worked with them for years. You never worry about who’s backing you up – every one is squared away.”

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