Wiscasset Police Chief Lawrence Hesseltine and his son Gage shared an unforgettable day on Thursday, May 12, when they both graduated from Central Maine Community College with presidential honors.
Chief Hesseltine received a degree in criminal justice while 20-year old Gage, received an associate’s degree in building construction technology.
Chief Hesseltine originally began his degree in criminal justice out of high school. “Because of life, I never finished, I thought I didn’t need it,” he said.
Hesseltine moved to Lincoln with his parents when he was 3 years old. Shortly out of high school and with one seminar of college completed, he began his law enforcement career Feb. 8, 1988 with the Lincoln Police Department. When the department downsized, he was laid off. He took on several different jobs, including a stint as an emergency medical technician, to remain in Lincoln.
His law enforcement career over the next 30 years included work with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, where he achieved the rank of lieutenant, serving as the resident deputy on Vinalhaven, working in the Maine State Prison as a correctional officer, and traveling to Iraq to train Iraqi police as a civilian contractor.
Immediately before he was hired on as the Wiscasset chief, he worked at the Waldoboro Police Department where he served as the D.A.R.E. officer, which was a challenging and rewarding experience for him.
Hesseltine was hired as Wiscasset police chief in 2018. He applied for the position in 2016, but was not hired because he did not have a degree. “I didn’t want to be put in that position again, so I decided to finish getting my degree,” Chief Hesseltine said.
When a recruiter from Central Maine Community College approached police officers throughout the state about getting their degrees, “I felt like he was just talking to me,” Chief Hesseltine said.
He knew his son was planning to attend Central Maine Community College. He asked Gage if he would mind his dad attending the same college with the possibility that they would graduate at the same time. Gage said he didn’t mind, and so for the next two years father and son both became college students.
In order to be awarded presidential honors, a student must have a GPA of 3.9 to 4.0 average. Both Hesseltines achieved the honor.
“When I graduated from high school, I looked at things differently,” Chief Hesseltine said. “In attending college over 30 years later, I wanted to learn, and took advantage of the opportunity.” Hesseltine said.
Chief Hesseltine now lives in Wiscasset, having purchased a home in the town less than a year after being hired as its police chief.
“I love being part of the community,” he said. “Community policing is very important to Wiscasset because there is a lot more to police work than just law enforcement.”