New safety chief readies at FF
After working his way up U.S. Route 1 and through the police units of several communities, Shawn Newell is headed for the top job of Fort Fairfield’s public safety director and police chief.
Newell, a police sergeant in Fort Fairfield since 2009, will become police chief and safety director March 4, when current chief William Campbell leaves to join the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency. (See related story.)
“While we are sad to see Chief Campbell move on, we appreciate his years of service to our community,” Fort Fairfield Town Manager Jim Risner said of Campbell. “We take solace in the fact that his expertise and experience will remain, as his influence on the lives and careers of the men and women he has served with will continue to serve our community for years to come.”
Newell, who grew up in Calais, has spent two decades in public safety and law enforcement, starting out at the Baileyville Police Department and later in Presque Isle and as a school resource officer. The new job “certainly poses new challenges,” combining police, fire and emergency management into one variable position, Newell said.
“I’m being brought up to speed on the fire side,” he said via email. “We are in the process of implementing a deputy chief who will run the fire department’s day-to-day operations and the director will have oversight. We have an amazing group of fire professionals that have welcomed me with open arms. Their cooperation has been key for me.”
As for the long-term priorities for Fort Fairfield’s safety, “the most pressing issue, for any community, is the rise in drug trafficking and drug use,” Newell said.
“There’s not a single agency, community, or county that isn’t facing drug use, drug crimes, and trafficking at a rising and alarming rate. Law enforcement continues to to combat the problem but it’s certainly an uphill battle for everyone. I believe that if communities want to make a difference it takes a unified approach.”