Col. John Cote

Col. John Cote to Retire

Col John CoteColonel John Cote has announced his retirement effective September 30, 2022 after 33 years of service with the Maine State Police.  Colonel Cote and his command staff team have lead the agency through some of the agency’s most high profile incidents and during trying times for the law enforcement profession.

Colonel Cote has accepted a position with Bison Transportation USA as their Eastern Region Director of Safety with Hartt Transportation Systems. 

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as a Maine Trooper for over three decades.  I have worked with many outstanding people who will continue to make the Maine State Police a premiere agency dedicated to keeping Maine a safe place to live and visit.”  

Message from Col. John Cote

If you read recent newspaper articles focused on discipline within the Maine State Police you were likely left thinking we conduct our work shrouded in secrecy and that we work to protect our own. As the leader of the Maine State Police, I’d like to take the opportunity to set the record straight:

The Maine State Police does not hide wrongdoing and does not choose to keep certain information related to discipline secret. We follow longstanding laws related to personnel investigation and records related to all state employees that have been implemented and refined across time. There are clear rules about what can be released to the public regarding state employees. M.R.S.A. Title 5 §7070 outlines that final discipline decisions can be released to the public. However, it does not authorize the release of investigative details. Thus, when we were asked for our discipline records for the past five years, the Maine State Police provided those records to the media as allowed by law. My concern is there was a missed opportunity to educate the public on what laws are in place that restricts reporting. Instead, the stories described the lack of detail as “secrecy” and a discretionary policy decision by our agency.

The men and women of the Maine State Police are human, which means they are not perfect. The expectation of perfection is not reality. Troopers don’t make the correct decision every time. However, Troopers are among the best law enforcement officers this state has to offer. We hold ourselves to the highest standards because we believe that is what the people of Maine deserve. When we become aware of allegations of misconduct or a mistake, we investigate it thoroughly and take appropriate disciplinary action when warranted.

The goal of discipline is to correct the behavior, not just punish the individual. In making disciplinary decisions, we try to consider all the information, including what the Trooper knew at the time of the incident, their performance history, and past disciplinary actions taken on similar incidents. We also hold our Troopers accountable for both on-duty and off-duty conduct, as they represent our agency 24/7 and we value the reputation of our Troopers and our agency in our communities. Our disciplinary actions are subject to the review of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy Board of Trustees, the Maine Attorney General’s Office, the State Bureau of Human Resources, and ultimately through arbitration and the court systems if deemed appropriate.

We are the largest agency in the state of Maine with over 330 officers providing services that span the entire state. We calculated statistics to capture how many contacts we make with citizens in an average 5-year period. We received over 325,000 separate requests for service, provided more than 36,000 aid to motorists, and conducted over 350,000 traffic stops. We issued over 110,000 traffic tickets and over 339,000 warnings (1:3 tickets to warnings rate). This work resulted in over 3,500 OUI arrests among other violations. Add to these contacts another 622,000 commercial vehicles checked. This is more than 1,300,000 contacts over the time frame of the research done by this series of stories. That is if every interaction only involved one person.

However, the Office of Professional Standards was contacted 685 times with complaints or inquiries over the same 5-year period. That number includes complaints, concerns, and questions.

The Maine State Police strives to serve the communities to the best of our abilities. We don’t make excuses for our mistakes, but we do want you to know that we try to learn from each one, so they are not repeated. We understand and support transparency, but we are obligated to follow the laws in place. Should public agencies include more information about misconduct in disciplinary records? Should the law be clarified or amended? Those are policy questions for lawmakers to consider and we will do our best to answer their questions and provide them with information and our perspective as they take these questions into consideration.

In the meantime, I continue to be proud of our agency, the high-quality work our agency does, and proud of the outstanding men and women that answer the call every day. I firmly believe, relatively speaking, our failures are rare. When they do exist, we address them as fairly and equitably as possible, consistent with the laws of our state, as we work to maintain the accountability that is the cornerstone of our public trust.




COL John Cote

Chief, Maine State Police

Maine State Police Memorial Scholarships Awarded

Julia Brooks
Julia Brooks – Daughter of Retired LT Mark Brooks – Pensacola Christian College

Over the last two weeks Col. John Cote traveled around the state to meet up with some amazing students who are part of the Maine State Police family.  In 1983, through the generosity of Henry Ferne of Wiscasset,  the Maine State Police Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to provide scholarships to high school seniors who are the children of active, retired or deceased State Police officers.  The competition for these scholarships, which are several thousand dollars, is stiff and those who received these awards have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in academics, extra-curricular activities, community and character.
Normally we would publicly recognize these students during our annual awards ceremony.   However, this year’s ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We congratulate them on their awards and wish them all the best in the future.

Jack Burton – Son of SGT Kevin Burton – University of Maine - Farmington









Luke Charette – Son of LT Rod Charette – Eastern Maine Community College













Joseph D’Angelo – Son of TPR Josh D’Angelo – Southern New Hampshire University













Delaney Meserve – Step-Daughter of TPR Adam Fillebrown – Roger Williams University













Jillian Pion – Daughter of SPEC Michael Pion – Kennebec Valley Community College













Zoe Vittum – Daughter of TPR Darren Vittum – University of Maine – Orono


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