Searsport Police Chief Richard LaHaye Jr. has been elected president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association for the 2018-19 year.

According to LaHaye, among his duties will be representing the Maine Chiefs of Police in Blue Mass, a religious ceremony that honors fallen officers, and he might be asked to testify about law enforcement bills in the state Legislature.

In October, LaHaye will also represent the Maine Chiefs of Police at a conference in Orlando, Florida, which will be attended by police chiefs from around the world.

The association was started in 1952 as a way to promote training initiatives, policy advancement and progressive law enforcement tactics, according to Maine Chiefs of Police Association Executive Director Robert Schwartz.

The association is "big on training" and "legislative direction," Schwartz said.

The president and board meet monthly and there are three general assembly meetings throughout the year, he said.

In his 42 years in the business, LaHaye said he's "virtually seen all sides of law enforcement."

He has been a marine patrol officer, an adjunct instructor in marine law enforcement at Unity College, and a lieutenant in charge of training, purchasing and agency liaison. He's also been a school resource officer besides his current role as chief of the Searsport Police Department.

"Someone asked me recently why am I still working," LaHaye said. "It's because I love my job."

LaHaye said when he started as chief of the Searsport Police Department back in 2008, there were three full-time officers besides himself, and five reserve officers. The reserve officers covered shifts for the full-time officers.

A year ago, the department was down to two full-time officers. One left to work at a different department and the remaining officer left at the beginning of 2018, leaving only LaHaye and several reserve officers.

In February, one full-time officer was hired, and then in May, a second full-time officer came on board.

The most recent hire, Officer Chris McCrillis, left the department this month to work as the school resource officer for Regional School District 20. Officer Dan Owens has agreed to come back as a full-time officer in October. He had left in January to pursue a position in federal government.