SACO (WGME) -- An old tradition is getting new life in a Saco community. It's a way to honor fallen police officers but it is also making a difference for a community trying to heal.
In 1932, Biddeford Police Officer Honore Dutremble was on patrol, when he recognized the license plate of a car that had been reported stolen. He ordered the man sitting behind the wheel to head to the police station a few hundred yards away.
Instead: “The person fired a 321 handgun, killing him. While he didn't die immediately at the scene, he was transported. My understanding is he died on the way to the hospital," Chief Roger Peaupre, Biddeford Police Department, said.
Officer Dutremble is one of three Biddeford officers killed in the line of duty. The current police station was built in their honor.
Now, officer Dutremble's great granddaughter, Michelle Goulet, is on a mission to carry on a tradition started by her grandmother. “My meme, Pauline, has been putting a blue light in her window because her father, Honore Dutremble. He was a fallen police officer and killed in the line of duty in 1932. Roseanna, his wife, had to raise those 12 children all by herself. The children in that time had to leave school and work in the mills to support their families," Goulet said.
Almost 83 years later, Goulet, along with State Representative Justin Chenette, are carrying on the blue light tradition in Saco. "And we thought with all the tragedies that have been going on with the police officers to kind of show support to the community by putting a blue light in the window to kind of support public service," Goulet said.
They are starting by distributing the lights in a neighborhood rocked by tragedy, Hillview Heights, the scene of a recent domestic violence shooting. "It really rocked our community. I mean, how many times do you hear about that happening in Saco? Our area really took that hard," Chenette said.
It’s the first project for the Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement, a non-profit that hopes to encourage good deeds. "To make sure the neighbors are connected to each other, that we're one strong community. We're Saco strong, you know, and this is our first good deed that we're doing and we hope to encourage others to do this as well, that it takes off, that we're starting a movement. The old tradition was only maybe putting that blue light to represent the fallen officer. Today it should be about the fallen officers and about supporting public safety," Chenette said.
This Sunday, the Good Deeds Troupe from the Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement will distribute the candles and blue bulbs in the Hillview Heights neighborhood but if anyone would like to pick one up in the meantime, they are at the Chamber of Commerce Building on Main Street.
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