County Face: Cyr Martin of Eagle Lake
ASHLAND, Maine — Cyr Martin has spent much of his adult life working in law enforcement, first at the University of Maine Orono and for the last 18 years in Ashland.
Originally from Eagle Lake, Martin said his father, who worked as a district forest ranger in the North Maine Woods border village of Daaquam, Quebec, inspired him to enter law enforcement.
“I grew up always saying I was going to be a police officer,” Martin recalled.
He studied criminal justice at the University of Maine in Orono, and when he graduated in 1987 he took a job that opened up with the university police force. As a 20-something cop, he enjoyed foot patrols in the small college town.
“In Orono, I loved it. I got a promotion to a cruiser position and I took a demotion to go back on foot patrol because I loved walking around and talking with people.”
Martin returned to Eagle Lake in 1994 when his father died to help his mother take care of the 100-acre family homestead. “I wanted to get back to my roots.” (Martin’s second cousin is the long-serving legislator John Martin.)
In Eagle Lake, Martin dabbled in the restaurant industry. He opened and ran a restaurant for three years before deciding there wasn’t a market for it, and also managed other restaurants in the area.
In the early 2000s, he took a part-time police officer job in Ashland. The part-time post became full-time and then grew into the job of police chief. “It kind of snowballed,” Martin said.
In his years policing the Ashland area, Martin has had to deal with the full range of rural crime — drugs, violence, theft — while also fostering strong connections with the Ashland community.
“I always said you need to develop some kind of relationship with the people you’re serving,” he said.
He’s continued living in Eagle Lake and making the drive to and from Ashland, something he’s seen as part of the job.
“I love the commute,” noted Martin. “It’s about a 35-minute drive. As a police officer, you’re driving patrols, so what’s the difference?”
Since last summer, he has also taken over the job as Ashland town manager, as well as stayed on as part-time police chief. While managing the municipal affairs of the town of some 1,300, Martin has also taken an active role in the Ashland Area Economic Development Committee. The committee is working to build the Ashland area’s lumber industry workforce and at the same time attract diversified businesses.
“I’m enjoying the change,” he said of the town manager role. Back when he was a full-time police officer, he would often have irregular hours and be drawn to deal with crimes and emergencies in the early morning hours.
At home, Martin lives on and helps take care of a 100-acre family property, including keeping 60 acres of fields mowed at least once a summer. The land used to be potato ground and Martin is thinking of raising beef cattle on the fields.
Now the fifth generation to inhabit that parcel of land, Martin said he feels grounded in his family’s history. His paternal grandparents had 15 kids, who each received about 100 acres of land from their grandfather’s large landholdings.
“I’m the fifth generation living on that property. I’m very proud of that,” Martin said.