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Updated: May 27, 2024 On the record

On the Record: Auburn safety trainer draws on her law enforcement background

PHOTO / JIM NEUGER Abbe Chabot, a manager with Dirigo Risk Management Solutions, at the company’s office in Auburn.

Abbe Chabot, a retired Maine State Police detective, is a manager with Dirigo Risk Management Solutions, an Auburn-based company that trains businesses and organizations in areas including active shooter response. After observing a Dirigo RMS training session at a HospitalityMaine event in March, Mainebiz caught up with Chabot to find out more.

Mainebiz: What attracted you to law enforcement in the first place?

Abbe Chabot: I always knew I was going to be a trooper. It is truly a calling.

MB: Early in your career, what misconceptions about the profession did you come across?

AC: I was taught criminal law and the enforcement of laws in college and at the academy. What I did not realize was how much empathy and diplomacy would play into every human interaction, positive or negative, illegal, or not.

MB: During your 20 years as a detective, what kinds of cases did you investigate?

AC: I responded to violent crimes against persons for most of my career. I predominately investigated homicides, sexual assault and all crimes against children to include any form of abuse and child online sexual exploitation and trafficking cases.

MB: As a woman on the front lines, what obstacles have you had to overcome in your career?

AC: In 1997 at the beginning of my career, there was truly a need to educate the public that females could even be employed as troopers. I remember pulling over a vehicle with a male operator who stated I couldn’t possibly be a trooper because of my gender. I retorted with a grin that we could be troopers, and that we could even vote in elections. He was flabbergasted.

Despite the challenges, those times provided ample opportunities for female officers to show other women and girls that their own professional pursuits and goals are attainable.

MB: What can you tell us about Dirigo RMS and its sister company, Dirigo Safety LLC?

AC: Dirigo Safety LLC is an Auburn company the delivers high quality training and policy and accreditation services to law enforcement and corrections in New England. It is comprised almost entirely of retired law enforcement officers or support staff to law enforcement.

Last year, our CEO, Scot Mattox, fulfilled his vision to bring the best skills, knowledge and attributes of the law enforcement profession to citizens and the public sector. That vision is now Dirigo Risk Management Solutions.

MB: Who and where are your clients?

AC: Our clients are quite simply everyone. Since Oct. 25, 2023, Dirigo has renewed local efforts to train Mainers and Maine businesses. Historically, we have trained as far away as California and as close as the building next door. We train municipalities, private companies of all sizes, school systems, medical facilities, houses of worship and more.

MB: What do you like most about teaching and training?

AC: At Dirigo RMS, we train both lifesaving skills and skills that enrich lives. Those are big topics that really empower our audiences. It is so gratifying to provide a company’s employees with de-escalation tactics, for instance. We have a Women’s Leadership Program that not only strengthens women personally and professionally, but also creates strong connections and brilliant collaborations.

Our workplace violence response training teaches people how to make decisions now to prepare for their response in the event they need to save their lives or the lives of others. As a company, we feel the benefits of every single training are reciprocal and invoke the same sense of service we sought as law enforcement officers.

MB: Maine had its deadliest mass shooting last year. What are some lessons that came out of that?

AC: Maine is filled with great people who grieve not only the victims of the worst mass casualty incident in 2023, but also the loss of the belief that things like that don’t happen in our beautiful state. In addition to supporting the victims, friends, family and loved ones impacted by the events of Oct. 25, we must bond together to fortify Maine against such incidents.

Communities become stronger when all facets of that community pre-plan, know and support each other, and coordinate a response to threats of violence. To me, Oct. 25 was a reminder of how strong Mainers are. There were many heroes in those buildings that night who saved lives because of the decisions they made.

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