Thursday, May 23, 2002

Captain Mazzone leaves Scarborough after 20 years

Published in the Current

June 5 will be Captain Angelo Mazzone’s last day at the Scarborough Police Department. He’s done nearly every job at the department in his 20 years of service, from animal control officer to youth aid officer to detective sergeant and now captain.

Mazzone has never had a home in Scarborough, but he feels like he lives here. “Scarborough’s like a second home to me now,” he said.

A native of Portland, he is leaving to spend more time with his children, and will move to Cape Cod to be closer to his parents. “This is a family decision,” he said, making a point to say he has no problem with the department and remains on good terms with everyone there.

Chief Robert Moulton said the department will miss Mazzone.

“He’s been like a right arm to me,” Moulton said. “He’s an excellent police officer. I’m going to miss him a lot.”

Mazzone has seen Scarborough change, and the police department change along with it. When he started, there were only four patrol cars, and, he said, “it wasn’t uncommon to work a day shift alone.” Now there are often four patrol cars on the road on any given afternoon.

“There have been a lot of improvements,” he said, in radios and the station facilities.

He got his start in law enforcement as a young boy, when his father, a doctor in Portland, would get called on now and again to assist police.

When he graduated from high school, he joined the Army and became a military policeman. After three years in the service, he joined the Scarborough police.

Issues have also changed since then. Twenty years ago, the focus was on child abuse. Now more emphasis is placed on domestic violence, Mazzone said.

He spent a lot of time in the detective bureau, which is his first love, and for which his colleagues say he has a gift.

Detective Sgt. David Grover, who will become captain when Mazzone leaves and followed him heading the detectives, said Mazzone is a dedicated and committed investigator. “He goes home when the work is done,” Grover said.

Mazzone said he liked the work as a detective, and enjoyed helping victims of crimes. “I always looked at it as ‘what can I do for the victims,’” he said.

But he is also experienced at standard police work, and at handling hard situations, including the James Levier shooting and the Virginia Jackson murder.

“Every time something really big happens, I’m there,” Mazzone said, shaking his head at his “luck” and saying, “I’ve never missed a hurricane, never missed a blizzard.”

In the future, he said, the department will continue to grow to reflect the needs of the community. Technology, too, will play different roles. “Police work will always change,” he said.

With the area of the town and its growth, there is more pressure on patrol officers, he said. Many calls take more time now, with additional procedures and paperwork that he said help police do a better job – an hour or so for a domestic dispute, for example, rather than 10 or 15 minutes 20 years ago.

“I think we need to grow some more in the patrol area,” he said. He also expects the department will someday be allowed to conduct its own homicide investigations.

State law now prevents most towns from handling murder cases, instead passing them up to the state attorney general’s office.

He recently reaped one reward of his tenure at the department. He saw a marriage announcement saying that a person Mazzone knew as a victim of a crime several years ago had gotten his life back together.

“It kind of makes you feel happy,” he said.

There will be a small ceremony honoring Mazzone June 5, his last day, and a larger ceremony is planned for October, after the summer activity settles down, Moulton said.