Eastport resident Andrew Little, who worked two decades for the Philadelphia Police Department, is sworn in by City Clerk Ella Kowall as Eastport's police chief on Thursday, April 8, 2021. Credit: Courtesy of city of Eastport

Eastport’s police chief, hired a little more than a year ago, died Tuesday after being diagnosed a month ago with terminal cancer.

Andrew Little, a former longtime officer with the Philadelphia Police Department, was hired in April 2021, becoming the city’s 10th police chief in a decade.

William Boone, chair of the city council, said that Little passed away on Tuesday. He had been on leave since his diagnosis. Chris Gardner, a part-time officer and executive director of the city’s port authority, has been acting as the officer-in-charge in Little’s absence.

“It was very quick,” Boone said of Little’s illness. “It’s very unfortunate.”

Officials said Little fought against the disease.

“He put up a courageous battle,” Gardner said. “He tried his absolute best to beat it.”

Boone said Little was keen on trying to stabilize the department, which has suffered from chronic turnover. Little’s predecessor, Peter Harris, had been the city’s ninth police chief since 2011, according to  the Quoddy Tides newspaper.

“Andy was very personable,” Boone said. “He loved his job. He was a very decent person in my opinion.”

Boone said the city does not have immediate plans to advertise for a new chief. The city is trying to set its annual municipal budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which starts July 1, and needs to determine what the police department budget will be before it looks to hire a new chief. Eastport’s year-round population is roughly 1,300 people, but it gets a significant influx of tourists and seasonal residents in the summer.

“Most townspeople want to keep the police department,” Boone said. “I do too.”

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....