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Higley named MAP Officer of the Year
Rumford Sgt. Tracey Higley with a plaque after being named the Maine Association of Police's Officer of the Year. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
RUMFORD -- At their annual awards banquet on Jan. 26, the Maine Association of Police named Rumford Police Sgt. Tracey Higley as their choice for Officer of the Year.
Higley, who has been with the department since 1994, is well-known for his efforts with programs such as Special Olympics and Keeping Kids Safe. He noted he is able to do that with the support of his department, although a lot of this community is done on his own time.
The award is presented to an active MAP member who has distinguished him/herself throughout the year with actions that, not only bring credit to the law enforcement community, but actions that promote and enhance the Maine Association of Police.
"This was one of the last things I was expecting," noted Higley, who was at the banquet representing his department. He admitting that he was pretty much speechless after going up to accept the award, saying, "Wow" and "Thank you."
Higley becomes the 13th MAP Officer of the Year and first in the western region of the state.
He said he doesn't know who nominated him for the award, but "It's quite an honor. It's nice to have some recognition for what we're doing. It makes me feel real good."
As a training officer, Higley said his experience and willingness to volunteer for community effort sets an example for his fellow officers, which is important.
He said he is able to take a role in the community for programs such as Special Olympics and Keeping Kids Safe with the support of his department.
"It drives you to know what you're doing is going to make a difference," said Hidley, adding that probably he'll never know how he's affected students in these programs.
He said hopefully when faced with a situation, they will make a positive decision based on lessons learned from these programs. "My job is to help."
Higley, who is also president of the department's union, also represents MAP in trying to work with the town administration and other groups. "We all try to work together for the community. There's no reason to be adversarial."
Last May, Higley led the committee effort of more than 30 people that brought the national program, "Every 15 Minutes" to Mountain Valley High School.
He admitted being emotionally drained after the two-day event, but that was in a good way. He said when he does a project, he sets high standards for himself. However, this program "completely exceeded my expectations. I cried more than once."
Prior to those two days, thousands of hours of planning and coordination over the course of nine months were required. Many community resources were tapped. Countless individuals and businesses donated time and talent.
Higley suggested that maybe in another three years that he would be willing to lead or be a part of this program again, adding that perhaps the other RSU 10 high schools would participate as well.
"Last year was a good year for me. This (award) quantifies it. It's good to be recognized for all the stuff I did," noted Higley.