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Maine officer follows in grandfather's footsteps

By Nick Sambides Jr.
The Bangor Daily News

MILLINOCKET, Maine — The late John McVey loved to regale his grandson with stories about life as a town police officer, and his grandson loved to listen.

"Just the excitement of it was interesting to me," Martin Legassey Jr. said Thursday. "Sometimes at work he didn't know if he would make it home [alive] that night.

"The adrenaline rush of it was exciting. It drew me into the field," Legassey added.

Now the 23-year-old town resident and Husson College graduate will get to follow the same story line that his grandfather etched during his 18 years (1956-1974) as a patrolman in Millinocket. Legassey started last week as a full-time town officer and will be attending the Maine municipal police training academy in August.

Legassey was the top candidate among seven finalists for the position on the nine-member department, according to Police Chief Donald Bolduc.

The chief also indicated that he is still working on filling another vacancy on his force. Sgt. Kevin Giberson left the department last month after 17 years, almost all in Millinocket, to work for the town of Lincoln. Bolduc wishes him well, calling him an excellent supervisor and officer, and said that efforts to hire a replacement should culminate in two months.

The chief wouldn't say whether he expected to promote a current member of the force to sergeant and then hire someone from outside to fill the empty slot or hire someone from outside to come in as sergeant.

That has "yet to be determined," Bolduc said.

He also said, "In the four years that I have been here [as chief], we've been shorthanded 80 percent of the time."

The regularity with which officers leave small towns for larger assignments "is just a fact of life in a small-town police department," Bolduc said, adding, "We'll be fine."

Legassey, who has lived almost all his life in town and has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology, said he believes he is well-prepared to work in Millinocket.

"I have always wanted to work on this job, here, particularly because I want to keep my family safe," Legassey said, "and I like the open areas here. I have been living in Bangor for a while and I don't like it as much. It feels a little cramped."

Legassey is engaged to 23-year-old Courtney Gulesian of Lincoln, who attends Beal College where she is studying to become a medical assistant, Legassey said.

Copyright 2008 Bangor Daily News

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