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Dublin

Police chief will retire in December

Letourneau to work at Montana ranch

  • Dublin Police Chief James Letourneau is set to retire at the end of this year.
  • Chief Letourneau visited Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch in July with his family. Zachary, Becky, Sarah and James Letourneau all pose for a photo with their horses in McLeod, Mont..

DUBLIN — When Dublin Police Chief James Letourneau visited Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch in McLeod, Mont., with his family in July, he was ready for a vacation. He hiked up Monument Peak and stood in the alpine meadow set at more than 10,000 feet. He spent some time at Blue Lake, fishing in the Boulder River, and he took a trip to the old remains of Independence ghost town and gold mines. Soon, Letourneau was sold. “It was beyond anything I could have imagined,” he said. “The owners, Ron Jarrett and Bryant Blewett, do an exceptional job in giving guests a true wilderness, western experience.”

As it turns out, Letourneau will join the owners of the Montana ranch in their work when he will assume the position of operations manager on Jan. 1.

Letourneau handed in his letter of resignation Tuesday afternoon to the Dublin Board of Selectmen, outlining his intent to retire from police work on Dec. 31, after 25 years of service.

“The town of Dublin has been so great to me,” Letourneau said, looking back on his time there. “I’ve been blessed by this community and all the relationships I’ve built here,” he said. “And as much I’ve given to the town, I feel I’ve received more back from all those personal relationships,” he added.

For Letourneau, leaving the police department he has been part of since he was 21 years old will not be easy.

“I started here as a young man, and the things this job has afforded me were above and beyond my expectations. I will miss this,” he said. “I have such great staff, and that’s the hardest part. You start to reflect and realize all that you’ve been through together.”

While Letourneau has loved his job in Dublin, he has also felt for some time that he was ready to move on.

“I’m looking for a different career path,” Letourneau said. “This type of career can be challenging, especially with managing this job and my family.” He added, “My wife and kids have sacrificed a lot.”

According to the Dublin Police administrative assistant, Vira Elder, who lives in Dublin, and Officer Tim Suokko, who lives in Fitchburg, Letourneau has been thinking about a shift in career for the past year or so.

“This has been in the works for a while,” Suokko said in a phone call. “We knew it was coming, and we’ve been dreading it.” He added, “Chief Letourneau is fantastic. He knows everyone and is a huge asset to the community. We’re very sorry to see him go.”

Elder will also be sad to say goodbye to Letourneau. “We’ve worked together for the town for 24 years,” she said, remembering when the Dublin Police Department didn’t have it’s own building before the year 2000, when it was housed in the current Selectmen’s office. “We’ve grown together as people have come and gone. I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Dublin Board of Selectmen Chairman Charlie Champagne said, “Jim is an exceptional person, and we’ve been very satisfied with his work. He will be sorely missed,” As a personal friend and hunting partner of Letourneau’s, Champagne could see the Dublin Police Chief enjoying Montana. “It sounds like he has a super job out there.”

Champagne said no plans had been solidified in the search for Letourneau’s replacement. “The Board will be discussing that in the next few weeks, and Jim has offered to help. We want it to be as seamless as it can be,” Champagne said.

Letourneau is looking forward to the next few steps, including bringing the skills he’s learned with the Dublin Police to his new position at the ranch. “I’ll be dealing with people, which I love,” he said.

Letourneau described his position as overseeing staff, hiring, handling logistics, and generally managing Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch. Letourneau will be traveling back and forth between Montana and New Hampshire for the foreseeable future, splitting time between work and home.

“This an opportunity that I don’t see happening very often, and I felt I had to take it,” Letourneau said. “I’m really excited for the future.”

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