SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Lt. Mike Miller, a 21-year veteran of the police department here, has been named acting chief effective this Saturday, Oct. 18.
Friday is the last day on the job for Chief Dave Chapais, who is retiring after 20 years on the force, the last 11 as chief.
The board of selectmen Tuesday night confirmed Town Manager Don Lagrange’s appointment of Miller, who served as a part-time officer for 11 years before joining the department full-time 10 years ago. He has been the second-in-command since then.
A memorandum of understanding signed by Lagrange and Miller states, “The duration of Acting Police Chief is unknown but will continue until such time that a Police Chief appointment is confirmed.”
Selectmen Tuesday night also authorized Lagrange to submit a new proposal to Tremont officials to provide police services for that town. The Tremont Board of Selectmen rejected a similar proposal last spring.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and Maine State Police currently provide law enforcement coverage for Tremont under a contract between the town and the county.
But because of the proximity of Southwest Harbor to Tremont, “We’re often first on the scene while waiting for the sheriff to come,” Lagrange said Tuesday night.
“We’re here to help people; we’re not here to make a buck off them. But they really should at least pony up for the services we would be providing.”
He said Tremont’s current contract with the county expires Dec. 31, so this is a good time to revisit the question of Southwest Harbor taking that on.
Selectmen Tom Benson and Dan Norwood questioned whether Southwest Harbor should be offering to cover another town at the same time that its own police chief is retiring.
“We will start with some part-time police officers to fill in, so we will still have a full police force,” Lagrange responded.
Chapais said of Southwest Harbor’s ability to cover Tremont, too, “It will be a challenge, but I have confidence in the guys in our police department that it can be done.”
Selectman George Jellison said he didn’t see any reason not to present the law enforcement coverage proposal to Tremont officials, even though “it’s probably going to fall on deaf ears again.”