Family, friends and well-wishers gathered Friday at the First Congregational Church of Searsport to reminisce with and congratulate "a true servant of the community."

Richard LaHaye Jr., Searsport's former police chief, said he plans to spend more time with his family and perhaps do some traveling in his retirement.

According to a previously published article, LaHaye said in the many years he has been in the profession, he's "virtually seen all sides of law enforcement."

In his 39-year career, 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 in addition to his role as chief of the Searsport Police Department.

Last year he was elected to serve as president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association for the 2018 to 2019 year. He has been a member of the state's Right to Know Advisory Committee, as well, representing the interests of law enforcement.

In a July 19 letter, LaHaye announced his intent to step down after 12 years of service to the town. He said in the letter he wanted to focus on his health as the reason for his departure, and thanked the "citizens of Searsport for their enormous support over the years."

There were many hugs and also a few tears as people streamed in to greet the former chief and wish him well.