Veteran cop takes charge in Harrison

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

A VISIBLE PRESENCE — Deputy Robert Mailman of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department has earned the respect of Harrison residents for keeping a visible police presence in town since taking over as the town’s full-time contract deputy this fall.

HARRISON — Robert Mailman just couldn’t bring himself to retire, not just yet.

“If I had been out of it longer, it might have made a difference,” said Mailman, sitting in his cruiser parked at the Harrison boat launch on Route 117.

But when he began his deputy training this past July at the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, only four or five months had passed since he retired from the Gorham Police Department, after 29 and a half years of service. At the end he’d been the department’s senior sergeant, on a 22-member force with five sergeants, in a busy suburban town of over 16,000 people.

Now he’s patrolling the rural roads of Harrison, with a population more in line with Gorham’s when he first became a policeman in June of 1981.

At this point in his life, the slower pace is just fine with him. His cruiser doubles as his office, and is equipped with everything he needs — computer, scanner, radio and radar. If he needs to, he can use the Sheriff’s Department’s Naples substation to do reports, or meet with other deputies within his same district.

“I like it. It’s always interesting, and the people here are great,” Deputy Mailman said. “It’s a neat town, not as bustling as Gorham.”

Mailman started working over the Labor Day weekend as Harrison’s full-time contract deputy, after the town’s previous police officer, Derik Brill, became the contract deputy for the Town of Standish. Mailman’s first assignment for the Sheriff’s Department was patrolling Chebeague Island over the summer.

He admits he’s still getting to know his way around Harrison’s roads. “I have to rely on my GPS a lot,” he said. From day one, he has made a point of maintaining a visible presence on the main highways running through town, especially Route 117, where speeding has been a longstanding issue of concern for residents.

And Harrison residents have noticed, slowing down on their approach into Harrison Village. Town Manager George “Bud” Finch said he has heard many favorable comments about increased police presence since Mailman took over.

“He seems to be really interested” in Harrison and in doing a good job here, Finch said. “I think it’s going to be really good.”

Neither Mailman nor Finch would comment on what days, or what hours, are part of the job. “All I’ll say is that the hours are decent, and no one really knows when I work,” Mailman said.

Mailman was born and raised in South Portland, and worked in construction, mechanics, sales, and as a locksmith before becoming a reserve police officer in Gorham. He did accident reconstruction for the Gorham Police Department and was known as a steady, low-key and very reliable officer who was well respected on the force.

He also worked for 23 years as a professional ski patroller, most recently at Bretton Woods Ski Resort in New Hampshire.

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