New D-F Police sergeant comes home to serve the community
DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Dover-Foxcroft Police Department did not have to look very far to fill the sergeant vacancy with the hiring of retired Maine State Police corporal and town resident Matt Grant.
“I spent a little time with the state police and then I took a little departure from April to January so somehow I found myself back here again,” Sgt. Grant said.
At the start of 2019 Sgt. Todd Lyford left the department to become chief deputy of the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office. “I started that Monday (Dec. 31) so Todd left to be the chief deputy the first of January that Tuesday so I kind of caught up with him on Monday,” Grant said. “He left Monday and I picked up where he left off on Tuesday.”
For Grant his law enforcement career has come full circle as he worked part-time for Dover-Foxcroft Police in college during the late 1980s.“Then I ended up being hired during the year in ‘89 and went to the academy in December,” he said.
Following graduation from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro Grant joined the Maine State Police and he worked and lived in the Millinocket-area for nine years.
“My wife had grown up here in Dover so we built a house here in 1998 and moved back down this way,” Grant said. “I have always worked out of the Orono/Bangor Troop E barracks, so basically the last 20 years I drove out of town to go work here, there, and everywhere and came back home at the end of the day like most folks do and nowadays I’m actually living here and working here as opposed to leaving town to go somewhere else.”
Grant served as a troop investigator and on the underwater recovery team for 15 years, including as commander. He said with the team he worked across all corners of the state and now with the Dover-Foxcroft Police Grant’s travel time is significantly less.
“Getting called out and driving to Kittery or Eastport or wherever, it’s not like driving 10 minutes across town,” he said. “A couple hours of travel to get there, then dealing with whatever you are dealing with, and then there’s a several hours return trip so certainly it’s geographically a little less spread out. It’s nice, you know everybody around town.”
“It’s a three-mile commute to work and when the weather finally turns I can run into town and go to work vs. just being away,” he said. Grant said the possibility of working in his home community played a role in deciding to get back into law enforcement.
“It was a good opportunity to work with the state police, I got all over the state and really New England, I did a fair amount of training and instruction with the other states,” he said. “I got a chance pretty much to work all over the state with some pretty interesting cases and all sorts of water, brooks, streams, ponds. I worked all 28 years originally in the Orono barracks and then it became the Bangor barracks. I worked there about 15 years as an investigator with the troop. That had a lot of opportunity with some pretty interesting cases to work on throughout the state.”
In April he retired from the Maine State Police after 28 years and then Grant worked for the Central Maine & Quebec Railroad for several months. Grant said some officers retire to head to smaller departments but “when I left to go to the railroad I did not have any big intention of coming back to law enforcement necessarily.”
Citing scheduling reasons, Grant left the railroad and went elsewhere for the second half of 2018, “I worked in Bangor for a friend of mine that had a towing company for the summer and fall, and I really got tired of driving to Bangor every day, It’s 10 hours a week you really can’t recover and I worked up here for a month or two, a friend of mine’s got a construction company.
“Todd’s appointment as the chief deputy kind of presented itself, it was nothing I had anticipated but the police department was in need of somebody with some supervisory experience, some time as a police officer so they had reached out to me and inquired about my interest in things so I kind of talked to them about what the job entailed and what their expectations were and so on and so forth. Eight months away doing something different was an opportunity to get away from it a little bit. This opportunity presented itself, it wasn’t anything I was particularly looking for but it came along.”
“He brings 28 years of experience and he brings a lot of disciplines,” Dover-Foxcroft Police Chief Ryan Reardon said. “We have a saying in police work ‘he brings a lot of tools in his tool chest’ and he is a very capable person, supervisory experience, big case experience, detective experience, so he brings quite a tool chest to our department.”
Reardon said Grant “is going to be a resource in more ways than one, he and I have know each other for a really long time, we’ve worked some very large cases with each other sometimes in concert with each other and sometimes here and there but he’s someone I’ve kept in contact with from my 25 years and he’s well regarded, a hard worker, lives local. His availability, his mentorship to younger officers, it’s going to be a big help. He brings a lot of big tools with him both professionally and personally so I’m looking forward to a long-working relationship with him.”
“The police department is effectively new people these last couple of years, year and a half so I’m kind of interested in how they do it,” Grant said. “There’s some new people and some people who aren’t exactly long in tenure so it will be interesting to work with them and kind of have a little bit of influence in how the police department shapes up and moves forward providing service to the community.
“Everybody wants a quality police service and I think it’s a lot like many occupations and endeavors, you need people to help mentor and shape you in what it is to provide service whether it’s police service or otherwise. I think I can provide in that regard.”
“The sergeant here is the second in command so it’s going to be an array of things, mostly the patrol function, scheduling, along those lines,” Reardon said about Grant’s duties. “So that brings a lot with it, report review, accident review, probably light on administration but mostly management and personnel, stuff he’s already in tune with, stuff he’s done his whole career. He was dive team commander, corporal with the state police so there’s probably not much he hasn’t seen in his career. I use the term ‘lot of salt on the fenders,’ we both do, what’s good is we’ve become resources and mentors for the younger officers here. We do have a younger force and now in the last two years the turnover is now 100 percent.”
Dover-Foxcroft Police has six full-time officers and eight reserves, with Reardon joining as chief in the spring of 2017.
“Again we brought in a lot of quality people, everyone’s been vetted well, and we have a good team going,” Reardon said. “The focus is going to be on positive community impact, serving the community, answering the calls for service.”
Grant said he has enjoyed being around Dover-Foxcroft. “I stopped in to the school this morning and kind checked how things are going on there, checked on a few odds and end complaints to follow up on this morning which all amounts to getting out and interacting with people” he said. “More often than not it’s a relatively positive conversation, occasionally you have to give people some news they’re not particularly open to.”
The sergeant said he enjoyed his 28 years with the Maine State Police but “it was time to make a change, I didn’t necessarily envision this being it but I think it’s going to work out just fine.”
Reardon said the hiring of Grant is “the perfect scenario for me, I’ve got someone who handle calls, call outs, off duty, and living right here he’s part of the community. His family grew up here, he’s still part of it so he gets it. He’s got a vested interest like the rest of us, it becomes a hometown team.”