The two men at the center of a changing of the guard at the Camden Police Department both have Waldo County ties — the current chief, Phil Roberts, is a Lincolnville resident, while the man who will take his place in about a month’s time, Lt. Randy Gagne, lives in Searsmont.

Camden’s Select Board voted unanimously Nov. 23 to appoint Gagne as the town’s new police chief, effective Jan. 1, 2011.

“Chief Roberts is leaving a big hole,” said Gagne. “I couldn’t ask for a better boss.”

Roberts is retiring at the end of this year after 30 years with the Camden Police Department, 10 of those years as chief. The select board thanked him at its regularly scheduled meeting for his years of service and then voted to appoint his successor.

Gagne has worked with Roberts since he was hired in October 1988 as a patrol officer.

He is a graduate of Camden-Rockport High School and married his high school sweetheart, Richelle. Together, they raised a son and daughter, and live in Searsmont with a horse, dogs and cats, on an old farm. Gagne was born and raised in Rockport and then moved to Lincolnville. He figures he knows probably just about everyone in the area.

“I’ve spent my entire career here,” said Gagne. “Phil took a chance with me 20 years ago. It is something I’ve looked forward to my whole career.”

He told the board: “When I talked to Phil I said, ‘How do you make those tough decisions?’ Phil said, ‘Well, I always ask myself would I be doing anything to embarrass my mother.’ That stuck with me and it always will.”

Gagne said he would not be making any major changes within the police department. The department will not be at full strength until the spring, with Officer Patrick Polky returning to Afghanistan for another tour of duty. Currently, there are 11 full-time officers, one full-time parking enforcement officer, and one administrator.