Sheriff looks forward to realizing dream in the great outdoors
Belfast — Waldo County Sheriff Scott Story has worked in local law enforcement since he started at the Belfast Police Department nearly 30 years ago, and now he is looking forward to a new chapter in his life that will let him live a lifelong dream after he retires later this year.
"I've always wanted to work outdoors," said Story, who is also a registered Maine guide and a professional sporting dog trainer.
For the last few years Story has spent his spare time working for Libby Camps, a lodge in northern Maine that specializes in providing guided hunting and fishing trips for its guests.
"I presently guide fishing and hunting trips up there for them" he said during an interview with The Republican Journal Thursday, Jan. 30.
Story said working in the wilderness has always appealed to him, but when he had the chance to get into police work he put those dreams on hold.
"I got sidetracked into law enforcement," said Story with a smile.
Story has served as sheriff since 2000 after he was appointed to the position following the unexpected death of then-Sheriff Robert "Jonesy" Jones, who died as the result of a heart attack while fighting a fire in Unity that also caused the death of three autistic children.
Story said after 14 years of doing the job he still enjoys leading the law enforcement agency that he's helped to grow, and he credited the people who have been around him over the course of his career for guiding him along the way.
Story began his career as a part time officer under the leadership of former veteran Belfast Police Chief Robert Keating, who went on to serve as the chief deputy alongside Story years later. Story said he also very much enjoyed working with retired Maine Game Warden and former Waldo County Sheriff John Ford when he moved on to work for the county, and later, Jones.
Story said he not only learned much from each of these men, but also built lasting friendships.
"I've been blessed with some fantastic mentors," said Story.
After a few years as a deputy, Story was promoted to a detective's position. At that time, he said, he started working with the Bangor-based Northern Maine Violent Crimes Task Force. From there, Story moved on to the chief deputy's position.
"And the rest is history," said Story.
There have been a lot of changes at the sheriff's office since Story started there as a deputy, and he said many of those changes have meant better service for the public.
The new, state-of-the-art sheriff's office is a real source of pride for the department, Story said, and a big improvement over the old sheriff's house that served as the office for many years. Before that, Story said, the sheriff's office consisted of a small space that was tucked in with the jail.
"Back then we shared the one typewriter that was in Jonesy's office," recalled Story. "Now, everyone has a laptop."
The force has also grown in size as more deputies are out patrolling county roads, and all are using newer cruisers and more up-to-date equipment than what was the case a couple of decades ago.
These advances have come gradually because Story, like those who came before him, saw the value in keeping the budget as affordable as possible for the taxpayers.
"We respect the fact that it's not our money," he said, noting that the sheriff's office came in at $50,000 under budget this past year.
Story has been fortunate to work with some veteran officers who have remained with the department for much or all of their careers, but he said it can be a challenge to obtain and keep qualified new recruits.
"There's not a lot of people standing in line to work nights, weekends and holidays," he said.
But Story said the training requirements are much more stringent than they were when he started out as a part-timer, when he learned on the job. Part time officers must now complete a licensing course before hitting the roads, and more training is necessary for full-time officers.
Story said he'd like to see some open investigations come to a close, like the case of Jeremy Alex, who went missing without a trace after he was last seen in Northport in April 2004, but noted there are lots of cases in which he was able to help victims gain some closure.
"The child abuse cases I investigated over the years, those stick with you pretty hard because there's a lot of damage done," he said. "It's also satisfying because hopefully you've made someone's life better by getting them out of that situation."
Story said the best times he's had during his tenure have involved officers telling him they made a huge break in an ongoing case, or touching base with former residents at the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center.
"When you have somebody come to you who gets out and has a good successful start in the community, I'll remember stories like these," he said.
Story is excited to jump into the next phase of his life, but said he'll miss all the people he's worked with over the years. That said, Story is confident that the people who will remain at the sheriff's office will do a great job of running the department after he retires, like Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton, who announced his candidacy for the sheriff's position last month.
"I can walk away from here knowing this place will be in great hands," he said.
207-338-3333 ext. 109
Tanya has been a general news reporter in Waldo County since 1997.
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