Two Police Leaders To Retire In Hancock County

Wayne Harvey

Updated 11 months ago

Their offices are separated by one street, and they’ve worked side by side for the last three plus decades.

In nine months, both Ellsworth Police Chief John DeLeo and Hancock County Sheriff William Clark will be retired.

WABI TV5’s Wayne Harvey had a chance to catch up with them as they looked back at their time in law enforcement.

“I always thought every day I worked was interesting because that’s the part about the job we both like is that one day to the next you never know what your going to be doing,” said Sheriff Clark.

Both Chief DeLeo and Sheriff Clark put on their first badge in the 1970’s. They know their police work habits will go with them into retirement.

“Even though I don’t patrol,” said Chief DeLeo. “You’re always looking, as strange as it sounds, you’re looking at inspection stickers and registrations, and after doing it so many years, it’s kind of ingrained in your mind to do something just as simple as that, and hopefully I’ll stop looking at inspection stickers.”

“You don’t,” said Sheriff Clark. “Though a trained police officer can drive right down Main Street, one car after the other look at the plate, sticker, and operator, plate-sticker-operator, plate-sticker-operator just like that, of every car going down there he can see that, and he can’t stop doing it.”

Both men know retirement will be a major change in their lives.

“It will definitely be strange,” said Ellsworth Police Chief DeLeo. “Certainly won’t miss the phone calls at 2 o’clock in the morning, but I mean I’ll miss the people I work with, like I say, many of them for thirty years, so there will be some things I’ll miss and some things I won’t miss.”

“see I envy John because John was still able to find away to be a police officer,” said Hancock County Sheriff Clark. “I’m just a police administrator. I have a chief deputy who is my police chief, he takes care of my law enforcement. I have my jail administrator, my civil process supervisor so, I really, I’m not even qualified to write up a traffic summons any more, I don’t even have a book I n my office, you see what I’m saying? so to say am I going to miss police work, I’ve missed police work for years I haven’t done it for a long time, so I am going to miss that.”

Both men credit their success with working closely with one another, and while the new Sheriff will be determined in November’s election, Chief DeLeo knows his successor, at least on an interim basis, with be Ellsworth Lt. Harold Page. “Obviously, and hopefully, he’ll make some changes and everybody has their own management style and the way I did things may not necessarily be the way Harold will do things. Change is not necessarily a bad thing.”

“From my point of view,” said Sheriff Clark. “My operation is as good as it’s ever been, so if somebody comes in there and changes it and it’s not as good as it was, I did the best I could.”

As they approach the end of their careers, both men look back fondly on the beginning of this journey.

“I think I would do it again,” said Chief DeLeo. “I mean it’s been a rewarding career. I’m not, what else I would have done to tell you the truth, and I think when I got in it 40 years ago, I didn’t think geez I’ll be in it 40 years. I mean I had no idea it would turn out the way it did, even when I started in Ellsworth I didn’t come down here thinking oh geez I’ll be chief, long story short, it’s been a good ride.”

Sheriff Clark agreed “Oh I’d definitely do it again. I wish I was 22 and starting all over again.”


  • Darren Nadeau

    Best of luck to two great leaders on a well deserved retirement!


    Everything I have been hearing in the media was just brought
    into a mind blowing realization after watching this report.

    How many murders, stabbings, drug deals, meth labs, domestic assaults, car break-ins,
    pharmacy and bank robberies, high speed crashes, and all the other horrible
    stuff is going on while these “well trained officers” are zooming down the road
    focused on “plate, sticker and operator”, which means inspection sticker, plate
    registration and seat belt?

    These two Police leaders just told the story in no uncertain terms where the
    focus is. Before people go off on a tangent about the police can’t be
    everywhere, maybe a focus on things that actually could do some good and make a
    difference needs to be addressed.

    When the question is asked where the drugs are, citizens can readily point out
    several places. Why don’t the police know? Look at the records of those involved in
    domestic assaults and you find they are well known to the Police. If a person
    is caught after a drug store robbery or car theft, again a long interaction
    with law enforcement is evident. Look at the horrible crashes on 25 mile an
    hour roads where the car is doing 60 or better and you find many complaints
    about such activity. I can tell you every time I come off Interstate 95 onto
    Still Water Ave. near the movie theater; I see 5 to 10 cars going through the
    red lights and at least one near miss. How many times a day does this happen? How
    many tickets are issued? What do I get for a response when I report this
    activity, we will look into it.

    But the “well trained officers” are focused on “plate,
    sticker and operator”. And we ask why crime is exploding in this state?

  • floyd

    one thing u have to keep in mind about the police their no different than any other person out their they get drunk on the weak ends they smoke pot tobacco they do all kinds of drugs and when they kill some one they get away with it. and if they can get away with not doing much they do. if we cant do it y can they?