AUGUSTA – An Aroostook County native was sworn in Monday as the 18th chief of the Maine State Police.
Col. John Cote, a 29-year state police veteran who resides in China, succeeded Robert Williams, who retired earlier this year.
Before assuming the leadership post, Cote served as deputy chief for the past two years and prior to that, as a member of the Northern Division’s Major Crime Unit investigating homicides.
Cote was sworn into office by Governor Paul LePage in the governor’s Cabinet Room in front of a roomful of family and co-workers. His badge was pinned on by his 82 year old fathe, Morris Cote of Houlton.
Cote said Monday that battling the opioid epidemic ranks near the top of his agenda as he takes the reins of the state police.
“A lot of that means probably we’re going to need more help,” Cote said. “We’re going to need more help. We’re going to need additional manpower. So we have a plan in place to make that argument. The people on the front lines are running pretty constantly. And anything we can do to represent them and get them help.”
The new chief said his rise through the ranks helps him better understand the needs of the troopers who deal with the public on a daily basis.