An American flag suspended between two fire trucks twisted in the wind on Thursday afternoon outside the entrance to Hampden Academy.
More than a dozen cruisers from the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office lined the driveway to the school, their front license plates replaced with ones that read 107 — the number assigned to the department’s fallen comrade, Staff Sgt. Bobbie Pelletier.
Pelletier, 47, of Orrington died Sunday in a snowmobile crash in Limestone, the town where the deputy grew up with his three brothers.
A memorial service at the Hampden Academy auditorium Thursday drew law enforcement officers, firefighters and first responders from Penobscot County and northern Maine. Residents of Hermon, where Pelletier patrolled for the past 6½ years, also attended.
Pelletier joined the sheriff’s office in 2008 after working for the police departments in Veazie and Old Town.
“In reviewing his personnel file, I found this comment many times — the man was a great human being, not just a good cop,” Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton said.
Morton praised Pelletier’s role as a supervisor of the deputies patrolling Hermon.
“He built a tremendous community law enforcement program there,” the sheriff said.
Scott Taylor, the pastor of Hermon Baptist Church, met Pelletier about 15 months ago when the minister was in a fender bender and Pelletier responded to his 911 call. The pastor was impressed with how Pelletier handled the situation when the driver who hit his car left the scene and drove home.
“We are thankful that Hermon is safe, and one of the reasons it is a safe place to live is because of Bobbie Pelletier,” Taylor said at the service.
Cpl. Ryan Fitch took Pelletier’s spot at the Old Town Police Department when he went to work for the sheriff’s office. A few years later, Fitch followed Pelletier to the sheriff’s office and the two became colleagues and good friends. Fitch and his wife, a nurse, introduced Pelletier to the woman who became his wife.
It was not until Maine State Police detective Ben Campbell was killed in a bizarre accident on I-95 in April 2019, when a wheel detached from a passing logging truck trailer and struck him, that the two men talked seriously about taking care of each other’s families in the event of their deaths. Campbell was helping a driver whose car had spun off the road in snowy conditions when he was killed.
“I swear that I will be there for you and your mom, and I will keep my promise for as long as I live,” Fitch said to Pelletier’s young son Bryce.
Jessica Pelletier, the deputy’s widow, thanked the law enforcement community and the broader community for their support in a statement read by Taylor.
“My heart was always full and Bobbie made me feel loved every single day,” she said.
Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton (left) hands Jess Pelletier, the widow of deceased Deputy Sheriff Bobbie Pelletier, a folded American Flag at the conclusion of a memorial service for Pelletier, inside the Hampden Academy auditorium, Feb. 24, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN
Pelletier was remembered for his infectious laugh and kind demeanor.
“To know Bobbie, was to love him,” his obituary said. “He was as gentle and kind as a person has ever been. His friends and family will miss his calm demeanor, his contagious laugh and his beautiful sparkling smile. He loved his family and he loved his community but above all else, Bobbie was a grateful and loving father and husband.”
Pelletier is survived by his wife and his 2 ½-year-old son Bryce; his parents Clifford and Nancy Pelletier; and brothers Kevin and Shawn Pelletier.
He was predeceased by his first wife Kim Pelletier, who died of cancer in 2012 at the age of 34, and a brother, Chad Pelletier.