DOVER-FOXCROFT – County, town and police officials are expected to discuss ways in which law enforcement coverage can be shared in a cost-effective manner among local resources when Piscataquis County commissioners next week hold their annual meeting on protection.
Each year, the commissioners moderate a meeting between the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department, town officials and municipal police chiefs to discuss concerns and issues.
The meeting, scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the Piscataquis County commissioners’ meeting room, also is open to the public.
One issue likely to be addressed is Greenville’s request for county coverage when the on-duty municipal police officer has to be out of town for extended periods of time, such as for court trials, training or evidence retrieval.
That request has been discussed in the past, most recently at a special meeting held last week between Greenville municipal officials and the commissioners.
At that meeting, Piscataquis County Sheriff John Goggin said his department already is stretched. The department’s five full-time patrol officers cover approximately 20 times the amount of territory covered by the 13 full-time officers in the four organized municipal police departments in Greenville, Dover-Foxcroft, Milo and Brownville, he said.
It isn’t that Goggin doesn’t want to fulfill the requests, but he just doesn’t have the manpower, he said. He said his department helped cover Milo incidents during a transition in the local police department earlier this year, but that move overextended the department.
“We’re doing more than our share of law enforcement work,” Goggin said. His office executed 47 search warrants in 2005 compared to 17 search warrants that were conducted by all the other law enforcement agencies in the county combined.
As for Greenville’s request, he said the town should build its department centered on the town’s growth. Two full-time officers are not enough, Goggin said. He said Dover-Foxcroft, which has about the same population as Greenville, has five full-time officers on the payroll.
“The town of Greenville is probably one of the fastest-growing communities in Piscataquis County,” he said. The town also will benefit from Plum Creek Timber Co.’s planned development in the Unorganized Territory, if it is approved, he said.
“Build a police department that will police the town of Greenville as it should be,” Goggin said.
Municipal officials also could contact the Maine State Police and ask for more police coverage from that agency, he said.
Goggin said people have a tendency to forget that the sheriff’s department has only seven full-time officers, which includes Chief Deputy Dale Clukey and himself, to provide police protection.
His department, he said, cannot augment the services of local police departments.