MACHIAS — After not having a police chief or any full-time officers for several months, the town of Machias is ready to rebuild its police department with the hiring of incoming Chief Keith Mercier.
“The police department is critical as far as providing an atmosphere of safety in the town,” Mercier said.
Machias Town Manager Bill Kitchen said Mercier brings a unique skill set in law enforcement.
“Keith brings to the table a small town municipal policing background, a city policing, a sheriff’s office background, a university background and built police departments in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Kitchen said.
Mercier said his first goal is to get the department fully staffed.
“That’s pretty much a national problem right now, finding police officers to staff. But we’re going to be working on that first,” Mercier said. “Once we get the staffing done, we’ll address other issues as they come up.”
Following the staffing initiative, Mercier and Kitchen say they’d like to address community involvement.
“Then our focus really comes to re-imagining exactly how we can best serve both the residents of this community, the residents of the surrounding communities because we are the surface center and how we can serve our business people,” Kitchen said.
Mercier said there’s a lot of organization to be done, and that he has been going to the station a couple times a week leading up to his start date.
“It is challenging learning the area, new folks, new people,” Mercier said. “Being around for as long as I have, I do have the luxury of knowing some of the deputies that work here, knowing the sheriff and some other folks around town just through random meetings over the years.”
Mercier is set to begin his role as chief on Nov. 1.