Pelletier steps down from Troop F

12 years ago

    HOULTON, Maine — Troop F bid fond farewell to one of its sergeants last month as Sgt. Thomas Pelletier retired from the force.
“After 24 years I have decided to hang it up,” Pelletier said in an e-mail to local media. “I appreciate all of the cooperation that you all have given us and the patience you have had while waiting for press releases over the years. It has been a great career.”
    Pelletier, a native of Fort Kent, said he had mixed emotions when it came to his final day with the force. His father is a retired game warden and his grandfather was also a game warden for many years. His uncle, Roland Pelletier, was also a game warden for many years in southern Aroostook County.
Pelletier said it was his father who steered him toward state police instead of a career as a game warden.
“My father felt there would be opportunities for me if I went the state police route,” he said. “Plus there is more diversity in the field.”
He entered the Navy in 1981 and spent five-and-a-half years with the military before joining the Maine State Police in 1988. Pelletier was assigned to Troop F and his first duties were in the Washburn area. He also served as a detective for the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency for three-and-a-half years and spent five years with the Criminal Intelligence Unit in Augusta before returning to the County. Pelletier was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2004, serving Aroostook and northern Penobscot counties.
“My family is from the County so I wanted to stay here,” he said. “I may have limited myself, career-wise, but that was my decision.”
Pelletier said the time just felt right for him to retire from Troop F. He did not leave the troop for another position and is weighing his options for the next phase of his life.
“The sergeant’s job is probably the toughest in any police department,” he said. “You’re kind of middle management, so you are dealing with employee issues, along with public complaints and the administrative duties. We have some great troopers working in this section.”
Pelletier was a member of the state police dive team for nearly 10 years and served as an instructor.
Technology has made great strides during his 24 years on the force, he said.
“Unfortunately, with the technology advancements we lose track of the human element,” he said. “The old days of stopping into the local mom and pop store have gone by the wayside. And that part is sad. It’s become much more impersonal.”
Crimes have also changed over the years, he said. The advent of the 9-1-1 emergency phone system was another big change.
“9-1-1 has posed a drastic drain on our resources,” Pelletier said. “We obviously have more calls for service and more family issues that we are involved in that were probably handled by the family unit years ago. That causes us to be more involved with the people in the community in a not-so positive way.”
The types of drugs found on the street have evolved as well. Pelletier said many of today’s crimes are driven by drugs, whether they are a need for drugs or a need for money to buy drugs.
“It’s not the calls for 17-year-olds drinking beer anymore,” he said. “It is now 15-year-olds on prescription drugs.”
Pelletier said he felt being in the County was the best place for a new recruit to learn the ropes of the job.
“As far as being a trooper, Aroostook County is the place to be to learn the job the best,” he said. “We deal with everything from barking dogs to fatal aircraft accidents, drug investigations and deaths. We don’t just do traffic and highway stops on the Interstate.”
No replacement has been named for Pelletier. He resides in Eagle Lake with his wife of 28 years, Carol.