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Community Outreach Officer Eric Small

Sanford’s Community Outreach Officer Eric Small received a letter of commendation this week for his work with Sanford residents experiencing homelessness and substance use disorder.

Police Chief Tom Connolly read the letter at the April 20 City Council meeting:

Dear Officer Small,

Please accept this letter and the accompanying Certificate of Excellence in appreciation of the dedication, commitment and effort that you have put forth as the Community Outreach Officer for the Sanford Police Department. Since the start of this assignment two years ago, you have strived to build a relationship with people who have been marginalized and ignored, to include people who have no permanent home, and people suffering from substance use disorder. You have tirelessly pursued avenues to improve individual lives by:

  • Visiting encampments of displaced people
  • Providing immediate assistance and transportation to link people with resources
  • Building partnerships and relationships between government and nongovernmental agencies, businesses and community organizations
  • Establishing an infrastructure of support

Your efforts in conjunction with the efforts of numerous other community leaders and citizens have resulted in providing the very basic of life’s necessities to people in need. You have conducted yourself in an exemplary manner and brought great credit upon yourself, the Sanford Police Department and the City of Sanford. Thank you for all that you do.

Thomas Connolly Jr., Chief of Police, Sanford Police Department

Chief Connolly also read the Certificate of Excellence: “This award is presented to Police Officer Eric H. Small in recognition of your dedication and commitment as the Community Outreach Officer for the Sanford Police Department. Your efforts exemplify the depth of your kindness and the scope of your humanity.”

Officer Small thanked the Chief and Council for their support and confidence in him. “I would have had little chance for success if it wasn’t for a lot of people.” He singled out former Mayor Tom Cote and former Deputy Mayor Joe Hanslip, who he said were instrumental in establishing the Community Outreach position in 2019. He also mentioned the dedicated crew of city employees, including Public Works Department and first responders, who have assisted him on numerous occasions. Diane Gerry and her staff at the Sanford Housing Authority, the York County Shelter Program and in particular the mobile food pantry run by YCSP volunteers every Tuesday and Thursday were also mentioned, as well as Ellen Fecteau at the North Parish Congregational Church. “Many other people make this happen. I think I should accept this on behalf of all the people that have been here for the city. I couldn’t be more proud of the City of Sanford, and there’s still a lot of work to do.”

Last week Officer Small organized an effort to clean up the wooded area at the end of Bougie Lane where there had previously been a homeless encampment. This week he is working with volunteers from Rotary International to do another cleanup along Main St. from the roundabout to Walmart.

The Mayor and City Councilors added their praise of Officer Small. Councilor Ayn Hanselmann said “It takes a special person to rally all the different organizations and individuals all toward a common goal. You inspire that in people and that’s a real gift.”

The full City Council meeting can be viewed here:

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