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BANGOR – To think that it all started with a Facebook page.

Odds are good that if you live in or around these parts, you’re familiar with the work of Tim Cotton of the Bangor Police Department. You might not necessarily know it, but you are.

Cotton – or TC, as he often identifies himself – is the driving force behind the social media phenomenon that is the Bangor PD Facebook page. Over the course of a few years, Cotton built the page’s following into a genuine grassroots juggernaut, with literally hundreds of thousands of people checking in to see what TC had to say.

The page’s success hinged on TC’s unusual approach to social media. He eschewed every bit of conventional wisdom with regards to building a page’s profile. They say you should always have pictures; TC rarely includes them. They say you should keep posts short and sweet; TC stops when he’s finished and not a word before.

And yet – it works. It probably shouldn’t, but it does.

It works because Cotton brings a consistent collegiality to the proceedings. He has a self-deprecating sense of humor that manages to carry a little bit of snark without ever becoming mean-spirited – no easy feat. He is someone who is passionate about his work and his community – a passion that carries through everything that he writes. There’s nothing disingenuous here; everything comes from a place of honesty.

But now, it seems that he has written something a good deal longer than even his longest Facebook post – a book.

Cotton’s new book is titled “The Detective in the Dooryard,” published by Down East Books. It’s a collection of short pieces that do a wonderful job in encapsulating the TC experience. It is packed with the same genial storytelling that made the Facebook page such a success.

(It’s worth noting that the book is proving wildly popular. Be sure to reach out to your local bookstore to place an order if you haven’t been lucky enough to land your copy already.)

As you might imagine, TC’s a pretty busy guy right now, what with a book hitting shelves added to his duties with the Bangor PD. And yet, despite all of that, he was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions The Maine Edge sent his way. He discusses how the book came about and what his process is like, as well as the people and ideas that influenced him as a writer. 

(Check out our full review of the book here.)

Published in Cover Story

Anyone who has worked the same job for a long time likely has their share of stories. And if that job involves regular interactions with the public, they probably have even more. And if said public isn’t always thrilled about those interactions, well … you get the point. Stories. Lots of them.

Tim Cotton certainly has all of those bases covered as a veteran police officer, having served for more than three decades in a variety of capacities. He’s got the stories for sure. But unlike the majority of his peers, he’s taken the time to write some of them down.

That writing started in earnest with Cotton’s assumption of the position of Public Information Officer for the Bangor PD, a job whose duties included updating and maintaining the department’s Facebook page. He started sharing his thoughts and stories about the job on that page (along with a healthy helping of the Duck of Justice, an old stuffed duck whose origin has become the stuff of legend), as well as a delightful regular feature titled “Got Warrants?” where he related the week’s particularly ridiculous incidents.

Before long, literally hundreds of thousands of people – nearly 10 times the city’s population – were following the page, all of them eagerly anticipating TC’s latest bit of homespun hilarity. Soon, Cotton’s writing was appearing elsewhere, popping up in newspapers and on various websites.

The logical next step? Write a book!

Hence, we get “The Detective in the Dooryard: Reflections of a Maine Cop” (Down East, $24.95), a collection of thoughts, musings and anecdotes about the world as seen through the eyes of one particular (and kind of peculiar) police officer. These tales are brief, breezy reads that embrace the idea of sharing stories that might not make their way into the local paper’s police beat, but warrant (see what I did there?) telling nevertheless.

Published in Buzz

BREWER – Earlier this month, area residents watched as the U.S. Coast Guard cutters Thunder Bay and Shackle worked their way up and down the Penobscot River, carving through the ice in an effort to open up the river following a long winter.

According to official spokespeople, the annual operation is executed to help prevent inland flooding; the ice is broken up and allowed to flow downstream. It winds up in the ocean rather than city parking lots and basements when the spring thaw arrives in earnest.

But is that REALLY why they’re doing it?

Published in Style

BANGOR – Move over Little Free Libraries – there’s a new streetside trend that’s setting the Queen City abuzz.

Inspired by the quaint delights elicited by the tiny lending libraries that have appeared in various Bangor neighborhoods in recent years, a handful of apiary enthusiasts are looking to spread their very specific hobby to the masses.

Published in Livin'
Wednesday, 10 October 2018 11:58

Celebrate Octo-beer!

BANGOR – Here in 2018, the Bangor-area beer scene continues to blossom.

The craft beer scene in the greater Bangor region is as robust as ever these days. Over a dozen breweries are plying their trades in the vicinity, bringing delicious beer to the masses. Plenty of thirsts are being quenched as these businesses – some just a few years old, others with decades-long histories behind them – offer up a wide variety of tasty brews.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 03 October 2018 12:13

Another autumn, another ARTober

BANGOR – It’s that time again. ARTober is here. Bangor’s annual month-long celebration of the arts is making its triumphant return.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 28 June 2017 11:32

The arts are expanding on Exchange Street

Bangor Arts Exchange coming to historic Nichols Block

Published in Buzz
Thursday, 09 March 2017 01:00

Criminal Mischief (03-08-2017)

Escapees steal, then crash SUV

SOUTH PORTLAND – Three men who escaped from the Long Creek Detention Center are back in custody after they stole an SUV last week and led police on a short chase that ended when they crashed.

Published in Criminal Mischief
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:52

CoVort brings co-working to downtown Bangor

BANGOR - Lisa Liberatore and Jason Harkins, the co-founders of CoVort, have transformed 49 Main Street from an empty shell to a co-working haven. With financial support from sponsors such as Bangor Savings Bank, Rudman Winchell and Eaton Peabody, CoVort opened shortly after this past Thanksgiving. 

Published in Local Business
Wednesday, 11 January 2017 14:17

One con to rule them all

Gamers roll into Bangor for SnowCon IX

Published in Cover Story
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