The Bar Harbor and Mount Desert police, who unified the departments after some turmoil, is retiring on the finish of this week.
After a 36-year profession in legislation enforcement that for the previous decade has included him serving within the unprecedented twin position for the 2 cities, James Willis is taking a non-public sector job as a public security advisor.
“I’m blissful. I’m unhappy. I’m afraid and I’m excited,” Willis, 57, stated Monday about his choice. “Friday is formally my final day in each cities.”
Willis was the primary police chief to serve for each departments in a novel sharing settlement. As his tenure ends, it’s unclear if the association will proceed — although some officers are hopeful it’ll.
Willis has been serving as police chief for the city of Mount Desert since 2003 and for Bar Harbor since 2013. Previous to that, he labored for the Hancock County Sheriff’s Division for 16 years and as a sufferer witness advocate for the Hancock County District Legal professional’s workplace for one yr.
David Kerns, who serves within the twin position of captain for each police departments, will function performing chief for each cities starting subsequent week.
In Mount Desert, City Supervisor Durling Lunt stated that it is going to be as much as the elected boards of the 2 cities whether or not the sharing settlement continues, however he want to see it occur. He stated the 2 cities haven’t but mentioned the method of formally hiring a brand new chief.
Officers in Bar Harbor didn’t reply to requests for touch upon Monday.
In turning into the police chief in each cities, Willis took over departments that had been experiencing some turmoil.
Willis grew to become chief in Mount Desert first, a division that had an officer arrested for drunken driving and one other officer filed a grievance towards the city over his rank and pay within the months main as much as his hiring..
About 10 years later in Bar Harbor, Willis quickly changed Nathan Younger, who was positioned on go away following allegations that he drove whereas drunk in Bar Harbor after which pressured his officers to not examine the matter. After Younger was fired, the 2 cities made the association everlasting.
“I feel Jim Willis is certainly on the prime of the heap,” Lunt stated. “He’s created a legacy within the cities of Mount Desert and Bar Harbor that I feel will final a very long time.”
Willis stated he’s happy with having introduced the 2 departments collectively in a seamless method. Though the cities fund the division individually, it successfully capabilities as one division. The settlement has additionally been expanded to incorporate Capt. David Kerns and an administrative assistant.
Willis stated all officers within the two departments take oaths of workplace in each cities, permitting them to patrol both in Bar Harbor or Mount Desert. And by having an even bigger pool of sources to work with by way of personnel and funding, the weird association advantages each cities.
“The officers now have higher work scheduled, higher tools, and higher investigations,” Willis stated. “We realized the right way to work collectively.”
Willis gave credit score to elected and appointed leaders in each cities, and to the respective staffs below his supervision, with not solely serving to to make the association work however in serving to to revive public confidence within the departments.
“Not each city will get to take pleasure in that,” he stated.
Different components of his profession that Willis stated he’ll bear in mind are his tenure in 2014 as president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Affiliation, and being subsequent to former Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff McFarland in 1999 when fugitive Richard Burdick shot McFarland within the chest. McFarland survived. He’ll additionally bear in mind serving to to introduce forensic interview methods for kids victims of crimes.
“That’s routine now,” Willis stated of kid abuse interviews.
Willis stated he is not going to miss the unpredictable hours of supervising two police departments, however he’ll miss his co-workers and others he has gotten to know by way of his job
“It’s the chums you make and the folks you’re employed with that follow you essentially the most,” he stated.