Maine Public Safety Spokesperson looks back at 32 years on job
For the last three decades, when reporters wanted to know wanted to know what was going on anywhere in Maine, we called Steve McCausland.
As of next week, they'll have to call someone else.
The spokesperson for Maine Public Safety is retiring.
Brian Sullivan sat down with him to talk about what it was like doing the job and how he it all started.
When asked where he went to college, McCausland answers - "I forgot to."
"I would've gone to college to go into broadcasting," he explained. "When I was 18, I got a full-time job on radio, and I was there for eight years. I decided I was already where I wanted to be. I don't encourage that to anyone, but it just so happened that it worked out for me."
He got this job in 1988.
"When I came in to public safety in '88, the department didn't even own a fax machine," he said. "When I asked the commissioner how come we don't have a fax machine, he basically said no one ever asked for one. I said you can't run a state department without one, so we got a fax machine. Before that, we got out a news release by the United States mail and by phone calls."
Speaking of phone calls...
"I've been on call 24 hours a day for 32 years...the phone would ring constantly," he said. "Those phone calls took place at night, on weekends, on vacations, on holidays, on sick days. I was there to answer the phone, and I got the word out as to what the men and women of Public Safety were doing."
Sometimes, the story would draw national attention.
"I've always strived to make sure that Maine reporters got the priority involved," said McCausland. "A couple of times, I got it wrong, and I heard about it, and I learned from that. Maine media is who I worked with day in and day out, and when the folks from the network came in and wanted to push their weight around, I wasn't impressed by that at all. Because they got the same identical information as the reporters that I deal with every day."
Sometimes, Steve had to be patient with those reporters.
"I actually had a reporter ask me could the dog give us any information on this case," he recalled. "I can't remember how I responded, but I'm thinking this reporter was struggling to at least ask a question, and the thing that popped into her mind was, could the dog tell us anything. The answer was no, of course. I'm not sure if we actually conducted an interview with the dog, but the answer was no."
For 32 years, he's answered questions like that and thousands more.
"It's been the honor of my working life to be able to tell the people of Maine what the people of Public Safety has been doing," said McCausland. "The investigation is launched and solved. The major tragedies. The things that fire marshals and troopers had to investigate and the successes we've had. I've been only the messenger, but the work this department does is incredibly important, and I've been honored to be able to be the messenger to tell people what they've been doing."
McCausland's last day will be this coming Tuesday.