The newest patrol deputies at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office include a former Division I runner, a former college security supervisor, a viral video star, and a recent college graduate.
At just 20 years old, Michael Godin is the youngest of the new deputies and unusually young for a law enforcement officer in Maine.
Godin grew up in Connecticut, where he attended two high schools. He went to Simsbury High School in the morning and early afternoon, then the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts to study jazz performance into the evening.
Godin plays piano and saxophone. He formed the Mike Godin Jazz Trio in high school and played paid gigs for a couple of years. Even while going to two schools and working as a musician, he found time to start a landscaping business.
He came to Maine to attend the University of Maine at Orono, where he selected a double major in economics and environmental science with a concentration in conservation and resource management.
He continued to have a busy schedule — competing in Division I track and field as a middle-distance runner and working three jobs at a time.
He was a research assistant to two professors, studying birds and lobsters, and both a front-desk manager and maintenance technician at the university’s recreation center.
This year, he opted to leave college and enter the workforce. Driven by a desire to serve, he considered the military before deciding on law enforcement.
Law enforcement officers in Maine must either be 21 or, if 19 or 20, meet other requirements. As a 20-year-old, Godin had to have 60 college credits.
Godin started work June 8. He likes the discipline and time management necessary for the job, as well as the variety. “Every day is different,” he said.
Off duty, he draws portraits, plays music, and enjoys the outdoors. He runs marathons and has completed three Ironman events — triathlons that include a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride, and a marathon.
Matthew Ryan grew up in Raynham, Mass. and graduated from Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School. He met his future wife in Massachusetts and they moved to her home state of Maine in 2012.
“I love Maine,” Ryan said, and he plans to stay here.
The couple first lived in Kennebec County, in Waterville, Augusta, and Pittston. Ryan worked as a corrections officer for the county — his first view of the criminal justice system from the inside.
“It was fascinating,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for the deputies and officers out there.”
Soon, he wanted to join them. “This is something I want to do,” he remembers thinking. “This sounds awesome.”
First, he spent five years with the Bowdoin College Office of Safety and Security as a patrol supervisor. As he entered his 30s, he decided to pursue his goal of working in law enforcement.
He started at the sheriff’s office in January.
“I’ve always loved the ocean and the country,” he said. “In Lincoln County, you get both.”
“Pretty much everything New England has to offer you get here in Lincoln County,” he said.
He appreciates the freedom of the job. On the day of an interview, he was roaming a patrol area that stretches from Dresden to Southport. “It’s a lot of fun,” he said.
“This is exactly where I wanted to end up and exactly the kind of law enforcement role I wanted,” he said.
He and his wife bought a home in Jefferson, where they live with their two cats. They will celebrate 14 years together in September.
Ryan, 33, likes to lift weights and play drums. He played in bands in his 20s and has plans to create a drum studio in the basement of his new home.
Eze VanBuckley grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y. and came to Maine because Husson University recruited the power forward to play basketball.
He first majored in sports management, but did not see himself in the field. An adviser suggested criminal justice. He took some classes and knew he had found what he wanted to do.
He graduated from Husson in 2015 and worked a series of part-time jobs: as a corrections officer in Penobscot County, a beach officer in Scarborough, a judicial marshal in Kennebec County, and a patrol officer in Bucksport and East Millinocket.
During his time in East Millinocket, a video of VanBuckley doing “The Git Up” challenge — a funky line dance to a country rap song by the same name — went viral. A Google search for his name turns up the video and numerous news articles.
He dances in uniform, in front of a police cruiser with its lights flashing. The police department posted the video to its Facebook page and it spread around the world.
In addition to reporters, VanBuckley heard from a recruiter from the CBS show “The Amazing Race.”
“I love to dance,” VanBuckley said. He studied dance in high school, which he credits with improving his footwork for basketball.
The Lincoln County post is the 26-year-old’s first full-time job in law enforcement. He started in June.
He enjoys the work. “I’m a social guy,” he said. “I like to meet people.”
When he meets someone having a bad day, he tries to deescalate the situation whenever he can.
“Jail is not the first thing I think of when I respond to a call,” he said. “Giving people a way out is what I like.”
When not on patrol, VanBuckley likes to go to the gym and hang out with friends.
Jerold Winslow grew up in Windsor and attended Windsor Elementary School. He graduated from Erskine Academy in 2016.
An outdoorsman, he decided to study conservation law enforcement at Unity College with the idea of working as a game warden.
During college, he started to gravitate toward a patrol job. Last summer, he worked for the Old Orchard Beach Police Department. The experience solidified his career path.
He wanted to work in the community where he grew up — Windsor borders Lincoln County to the north. And he wanted to work for an agency that values community policing — a proactive philosophy that seeks to address the conditions that give rise to crime and to partner with residents to solve problems, rather than simply to enforce the law.
Winslow started work at the sheriff’s office in January. He calls the agency a “great place to work” with co-workers who “make me feel like I’ve been working here longer than I have.”
The community respects and supports the sheriff’s office, Winslow said. Everywhere he goes, he hears positive comments about the agency and Sheriff Todd Brackett. “Everyone knows him,” he said.
After COVID-19 shut down campuses, Winslow finished college online. He graduated from Unity in May with his degree in conservation law enforcement.
The 22-year-old takes an optimist’s approach to the job. He recalled the advice of a visiting instructor from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Daniel Rousseau.
Rousseau encouraged students to think of themselves as “part of the solution to the problem,” and Winslow does.
“I love working here,” he said. “I wake up every day looking forward to coming here.” Every day brings something new and deputies learn to “expect the unexpected,” he said.
He still likes to spend time outdoors, fishing, hunting, and trapping.
Academy on hold, hiring continues
All four deputies have either completed or are undergoing field training. They must eventually attend the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s 18-week basic training, but the coronavirus pandemic has the program on hold.
The sheriff’s office still has vacancies for two patrol deputies. For more information, email Lt. Brendan Kane: firstname.lastname@example.org.