Across the nation, only the New York Police Department has more likes on its Facebook Page than Bangor PD.
Much of that success is credited to the Duck of Justice.
The famous fowl became almost too popular, as is the case with many celebrities, and needed to step away from the limelight.
“I met him when I was a young officer in 1988” said Sgt. Tim Cotton of the Bangor Police Department.
For 20 years, it sat on the shelf of the District Attorney’s office.
Cotton always had his eye on it.
Until the day they DA was moving offices.
“I went over to see one of the district attorneys and the duck was literally in the garbage” said Cotton.
That’s when his rescue training kicked in.
“I took it from the trash can.”
“I said at this point, it’s a free-for-all, you know it’s in the garbage, so that’s free you know in my life that’s where you get the good stuff.”
In his new home, he was reborn the Duck of Truth. Then the Duck of Justice, and eventually the star of the department Facebook page.
“It took off” explained Cotton, as the page has now gone over 200,000 followers.
“So last year we had over 1,000 individual people anymore who didn’t even sign the guestbook. They came in just to have a picture with the duck.”
All those visitors meant wear and tear.
“Several years of hard use as opposed to just being on the wall and having people touching it and petting it” said Ryan Rhodes, Owner of North Rhodes Taxidermy, who volunteered his expertise.
“Tails ripped off, the head had a wire poking through, it was just real beat up and dirty, so I gave for my services to clean it up maybe a couple of new parts if I needed to just to kind of bring it back to life” said Rhodes, detailing the extensive work.
Generally, mounted animals don’t get brought back.
“I suggested replacing the bird” Rhodes added.
“If I replace the real Duck of Justice with an imposter even, though it’s more of an idea that I think I would be lying” said Cotton. “I came back and I called him and I said Ryan, I can’t have you do that. I can’t have you replace what people have come to know as the Duck of Justice. Could you repair it?”
So Ryan went to work.
“He took it to his secret lair and he worked on it all winter” said Cotton.
And now months later, it’s back.
“I was taken aback because it really changed” he said. “He did a lot of work and this is going to make this duck be healthy and strong under glass until who knows when.”
The duck will soon be on display full time in the Bangor Police Department lobby – finally answering the question so many have been asking.
“When our guys work these large 15,000 person concerts or at the Cross Center the question they get is, where’s the duck? Well, that starts a conversation” said Cotton. “It doesn’t have to be..Hey, I don’t like the police or whatever else someone might say which is typically much worse than I don’t like the police. If someone asks a cop where’s the duck, that’s a conversation between law enforcement and a person who wouldn’t wouldn’t have that contact otherwise and that’s a big deal.”
The plan is to have the Duck of Justice on display in the museum that’s located in the station lobby by Memorial Day weekend.