December 02, 2023

Baldacci honors past troopers, top lawman of the year

AUGUSTA – With guns blazing, Fred Ladd and his fellow state troopers chased a suspected bank robber from Portland to Oxford, where Ladd fired the shot that ended the pursuit and the life of a man.

The event four decades ago was recalled Tuesday as the 80-year-old Ladd, of Minot, was honored as a Legendary Trooper.

Also recognized by Gov. John Baldacci and top Public Safety Department officials as a Legendary Trooper was William Hancock Jr., 82, of Cape Neddick who was in the state police from 1948 to 1970 and later served as Ogunquit chief.

The 1964 chase in which Ladd was involved was just one of numerous stories of heroism, dogged persistence and selfless service cited during Tuesday’s ceremony at the University of Maine at Augusta.

Maine police learned that a man who had robbed two Massachusetts banks fled to the state, so Ladd and other troopers took off in pursuit. Police and the suspect exchanged shots during a 30-mile chase from Portland to Oxford.

In Oxford, Ladd fired a rifle that killed the suspect, who had $8,000 in cash with him at the time.

“That saved several lives,” said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Public Safety Department.

Officials cited Hancock’s military record in presenting his award. A tail gunner with the Army Air Corps, Hancock was shot down over Italy in 1943, was captured and then escaped from prison camps three times. Caring for a wounded comrade, he finally found refuge with the Italian Resistance.

Troopers who have been recently activated for military service were also honored on Tuesday, as was Maine’s Trooper of the Year, Timothy McCadden of Calais.

McCadden, a 17-year state police veteran and past winner of the Meritorious Service Award, is credited with disarming suspects wielding weapons on at least two occasions during his patrols Down East.

Among the nonpolice heroes to receive the Meritorious Service Award was Matthew Ferland of Peru, who was 13 last November when he jacked up a car that had fallen on his father and could have killed him without his son’s quick action.

Radio dispatcher Jeff Coon, who received a call in May 2002 from a man who said he had just killed his ex-wife, was credited with calming the caller, finding out where his weapons were and talking him out of committing suicide.

This April, a jury found the man who had called, 45-year-old Gregory Warmke of Fairfield, guilty of murder in the shotgun slaying of Leslie Bullock.

Officers and staff from several state, county and local law-enforcement agencies, state probation and parole, the attorney general’s office and Colby College were commended for their teamwork in finding the man who killed a Colby student last September.

In March, Edward Hackett, a former Utah parolee, was sentenced to life in prison for the kidnapping and murder of 21-year-old Dawn Rossignol of Medway.

State police Detective Mark Lopez and Trooper Terry James were cited for tracking down and saving the life of a woman who had wandered into the woods in Woodstock and was found disoriented and without proper protective clothing in two feet of snow.

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