His son delivers a tribute over the air waves

Longtime Belfast Police Officer Michael Rolerson ends his watch over the ‘Great City of Belfast’

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 12:45pm

    BELFAST — The call begins: “27 years ago, Officer Michael Rolerson began his watch over the great City of Belfast. In that time, he has responded to countless calls and complaints. Throughout his watch he has met numerous people and has formed many relationships. May you be proud of the work you have done, the person that you are, and the difference you have made. Not everyone gets to meet their hero. I was raised by mine. As of 1500, 58 hours, on Aug. 31, 2019, Belfast 9 we have you 10.7 for your final time as a full-time law enforcement for B Belfast. Welcome to retirement Dad, I love you.”

    That was the final transmission Rolerson’s son, Mike, sent out over dispatch to Officer Rolerson, who was just finishing up his last shift in the Belfast Police Department patrol car. 

    The elder Rolerson listened to the tribute, wiping tears from his eyes, as someone kept the camera filming him. Then, just after his son finished, Rolerson picked up the mic and said softly, “I love you, too.”

    (Visit Mike Rolerson’s Facebook page for the transmission)

    That marked the end of a long career that began in 1992, with Rolerson as a young patrol officer. 

    He grew up in Belfast, while his father hauled grain for the Penobscot Poultry plant that formerly occupied a big chunk of the Belfast Harbor waterfront.

    For Rolerson, the step into law enforcement took him to places and into situations most lifelong residents of a small community never see, or even want to imagine.

    He will not forget the bigger cases, such as the horrific and fatal stabbing by a 15-year-old boy of his mother. Nor will he forget the two healthy babies he delivered while on duty.

    His last day on duty in Belfast started out with an unattended death, always a sad turn of events and ended with minor incidents.

    “Belfast is a community with a lot of good people,” said Rolerson.

    He’s seen a lot of changes in the small city, from the days of boarded up storefronts along Main Street to the arrival of MBNA credit card bank, the Bank of America, athenahealth and the Front Street Shipyard, all larger economic forces for Waldo County.

    But he’s not retiring from law enforcement; in fact, he is moving just one town over, to join the Searsport Police Department as sergeant, and moving from a police force of 15 to four.

    He took one day off from work between the shift to regroup.

    He had decided earlier this year to retire from Belfast PD and then when he heard that both the chief and sergeant were retiring in Searsport, he thought, why not go back to work in a smaller town.

    It’s not like the community won’t be seeing Sgt. Rolerson on duty anymore, it’s just that he has shifted his focus. And it’s all Waldo County, which he loves.

    Meanwhile, his son, Mike Rolerson, is a police officer with the Rockland PD. 

    He got his father on the last day of work over the radio, patching into to Waldo County Regional Communications Center in Belfast, and sending his message over the air waves. 

    He has been an asset for the community during his watch,” said the younger Mike Rolerson, about his father.

     The elder Rolerson has likewise nice things to say about his son: “I wish him the best. I think he will have a great career and he has an outstanding family.”

    By the way, Mike Rolerson Elder said those weren’t tears he was dabbing away as he listened to his son’s radio dispatch.

    “The cruiser was hot,” he said. “I wasn’t crying. My eyeballs were sweating.”

    Yeah, sure!

    Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at lyndaclancy@penbaypilot.com; 207-706-6657