The brief history of the Kennebunkport Police Department
By: Officer Jason T. Hafner
The Town of Kennebunkport was established in 1821. The town first realized their need for a police officer in 1897 when the town asked for a police officer to patrol the “river village area” during the months of June, July and August. The Policeman hired for this position was Isaac D. Adams. At this time there was not an organized police department for the Town of Kennebunkport. There was also no formal training to become a police officer. For example, in January 1898 when the Ocean Bluff Hotel burned down, the town hired seven people to act as “watchmen”.
In March of 1898 at the annual town meeting it was determined that a “suitable police force” should be established and that the town should provide a new building with a proper place to hold subjects who were arrested. One thousand dollars was appropriated to pay for constables and those who were hired as police officers. The thousand dollars was also used to provide a “lockup” as well and a building to store it in. At this time during the evening hours it would not be uncommon to find Lemel M. Brooks patrolling the area. The town of Kennebunkport hired Lemel M. Brooks as a police officer for the months of July, August and September.
As the mass production of the gasoline powered automobile grew more affordable for the general public so did the population of people in the town of Kennebunkport. More people visiting in turn brought more vehicles to the Town of Kennebunkport. This brought traffic and motor vehicle accidents. The Town of Kennebunkport tried to combat some of the issues caused by motorists by installing the “silent policeman” in 1926 (the white wooden monument at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Dock Square).
In 1931 the Town of Kennebunkport hired their first Chief of Police, William G. Westcott. Chief Westcott was the Chief of Police until 1946.
In March of 1957 Nicholas S. Iniss became the Chief of Police. Before this time The Kennebunkport Police did not have department issued vehicles to perform their duties. The Kennebunkport Police Department’s budget doubles and Kennebunkport Police cruisers are now introduced. Chief Iniss was the Chief of Police until 1971. At this time a brand new police cruiser costs the town $3,100.00.
In 1974 John A. Prescott became the Chief of Police. In 1984 a full time Court Officer and full time dispatchers were worked into the budget of the Kennebunkport Police Department. Police cruisers then cost the town $15,000.
The department currently employees 12 full time police officers, 1 administrative assistant, and four dispatchers. The police department also hires Community Service Officers and Reserve Officers who are employed to offset the busy times of year. The Kennebunkport Police Department has had the unique privilege to assist with the protection of sitting and retired presidents along with countless foreign dignitaries. As always, our main goal is to stand ready to serve our ever changing community.
Kennebunkport Chiefs of Police
1931-1946: Chief William G. Westcott
1947-1948: Chief P. Andrew Brady
1948-1953: Chief George Norton
1953-1957: Chief Ralph Higgins
1957-1971: Chief Nicholas S. Inniss
1972-1974: Chief Sherman C. Bonney Jr.
1974-1991: Chief John A. Prescott
1992-2001: Chief Robert F. Sullivan
2002-2009: Chief Joseph J. Bruni
2011-Present: Chief Craig A. Sanford
Special thank you to the Kennebunkport Town Office staff, the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, Mary-Lou Boucouvalas from the Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library and long standing resident and former employee of the Kennebunkport Police Department, Clyde Little.