Longtime Orono Police Chief Josh Ewing announced recently he will be leaving the Orono Police Department after 22 years. The vacancy of his post, along with a few openings in the Orono Fire Department inspired town officials to take a look to see if there was another way to reorganize both the police and fire departments and turn them into one?

According to Fox ABC Maine, that will be the plan going forward.

"The town of Orono is moving to combine its police and fire departments into a public safety department...Orono Fire Chief Geoff Low will become the town’s public safety director on Nov. 5. Cpt. Daniel Merrill will be appointed to chief law enforcement officer deputy chief."

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Perhaps an unconventional approach, the thought is that with one public safety director overseeing both departments aided by representatives of both the fire and police sides of the coin, it will free that director up to be more of an administrative role, while also encouraging career development for others who hope to rise in the ranks of public safety.

Chief Ewing says he will still be involved in law enforcement, but just not at a management level. He'll be continuing on as a patrolman in his current hometown. He'll also still be very much involved with the Special Olympics organization he's been a part of for so many years.

For those who worked and served with Ewing, and may want to reach out with farewell messages, Officials in Orono say they will be collecting messages through the beginning of next week. Because of Covid-19 a large, public gathering will not be held. Instead, the messages collected will be shared at a small staff gathering.

According to a post on the town website, Orono.org:

"Like many, we at Town Hall are saddened by the news that Chief Ewing will be leaving Orono and are looking for ways to share our gratitude for his years of dedicated service and recognize his extraordinarily positive impact on our community. Many community members have called, emailed, and sent cards directly to Josh to express their gratitude for all that he has done for the community.  Those wanting to provide sentiments more publicly are welcome to send an email, cards, or videos by close of business on Tuesday, November 2nd to swilson@orono.org which we can share at the staff gathering."

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