FRYEBURG SELECTMEN CONSIDER POLICE OPTIONS

by Gair on May 2, 2013

FRYEBURG, MAINE SELECTMEN WILL HOLD A PUBLIC HEARING THURSDAY EVENING, MAY 2, 2013 TO CONSIDER WHETHER THE TOWN SHOULD KEEP ITS OWN POLICE FORCE OR CONTRACT WITH THE OXFORD COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE FOR POLICE COVERAGE. THE IDEA IS TO HEAR INFORMATION ABOUT THE TWO OPTIONS AND TAKE QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS ON THEM.

REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE FRYEBURG POLICE DEPT. AND SHERIFF’S DEPT. WILL BE AT THE MEETING TO ANSWER QUESTIONS.

THE OXFORD COUNTY PROPOSAL WOULD PROVIDE FULL TIME POLICE PROTECTION TO FRYEBURG FROM FOUR DEPUTIES WHO ARE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACADEMY GRADUATES. THE DEPUTIES WOULD RESPOND TO EMERGENCIES AND COMPLAINTS – AS WELL AS PATROL THE SACO RIVER AND PROVIDE TRAFFIC CONTROL DURING FRYEBURG FAIR WEEK. THEY WOULD ALSO PROVIDE COVERAGE AT SCHOOL EVENTS, PARADES AND FESTIVALS.

FRYEBURG CURRENTLY EMPLOYS POLICE CHIEF PHIL WEYMOUTH, ONE LIEUTENANT, FOUR FULL TIME OFFICERS AND 10 RESERVE OFFICERS. THEIR LIST OF DUTIES IS ESSENTIALLY THE SAME AS THE DEPUTIES, EXCEPT THEY PROVIDE BIKE PATROLS, OPEN AND CLOSE TOWN PARKS, ASSIST IN ELDERLY CALL PROGRAMS, EDUCATE CIVIC GROUPS AND PROVIDE BICYCLE HELMET FITTINGS.

THE OPTIONS – AS LISTED ON FRYEBURG’S WEBSITE – DO NOT SPECIFY IF DEPUTIES WOULD ACTUALLY INVESTIGATE CRIMES, SOMETHING THE CURRENT TOWN POLICE FORCE DOES NOW.

A CONTRACT WITH THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE WOULD BE EFFECTIVE FOR THREE YEARS, WITH THE OPTION TO RENEW. FIGURES PROVIDED BY FRYEBURG – CONSIDERED SEPARATELY FROM THE ROUGHLY $277,000 THE TOWN PAYS EACH YEAR IN COUNTY TAX TO OXFORD COUNTY – INDICATES A TOTAL COST OF ABOUT $469,000 A YEAR IF THE SHERIFF’S DEPT. IS HIRED IN FISCAL YEAR 2014, A COST SAVING OF ABOUT $70,000 OVER THE TOWN’S POLICE DEPT. FOR THAT YEAR.

TO VIEW THE OPTIONS BEING CONSIDERED, SEE THE WEBSITE AT www.fryeburgmaine.org.

THURSDAY’S MEETING STARTS AT 6 P.M AT THE FRYEBURG FIRE STATION ON MAIN ST.

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