D-F : Letter to the EditorMay 27, 2007 - TRCTo The Editor :Iím going to vote with an absentee ballot this time around. Iíve always enjoyed going to the voting booth at the Y to do my duty as a citizen of this great state. Unfortunately, Iíll be in Augusta doing the peopleís work on June 12th and wonít be able to make it home to vote. As you all know, itís a very busy time in Augusta and I really donít want to miss out on a single Legislative vote. There are too many important issues before us Legislators.During this past session I submitted a bill LD 864 ďAn Act To Protect Local Police Departments.Ē This was after I learned that the Dover-Foxcroft Police Department lost another police officer, straight out of the academy, to a higher paying job. The State Police selected him after he had completed the necessary qualifications at the academy. In other words, he was bought off after learning that he had no obligations to the local police department for the money and time spent crafting him into a police officer.Please understand that police departments donít just hire anybody off the street, give him or her a uniform, a gun and send him or her out into this mean old world. First, the local police departments must advertise for a police officer. Then there are the interviews. All this takes precious time to fill a slot that must be occupied by a regular police officer doing overtime. Then the potential officer must attend the police academy to fulfill obligations mandated by the State of Maine. The police academy tuition is $27,000 which the town must pay up front.There is nothing in statute that says the potential officer must return to the town that hired him or her. You would think that he or she would feel some obligation toward the police department who helped him or her down the road to becoming a police officer. Not so.My bill would have required that the graduated police officer would be mandated to work at least one year for the police department that hired him or her before departing for more lucrative stakes. In the meantime, after the passage of my bill, and the assured loss of the newly hired officer, the town would have at least a year to find another candidate. The bill never made it out of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. It was felt that an increase in salaries would make every department more competitive. And thatís the way the Committee felt every town should go.On your voting ballot, you will find article 6 ďShall the town raise and appropriate the sum of Ö..Ē I urge you to support this article. The State of Maine has turned us down for equality in police protection. Itís up to us to raise the salaries of our police officers to be commensurate with other police departments of similar size. We owe it to them. We canít afford both the time loss and the loss in protection.The Dover-Foxcroft Police Department is a valuable part of our community. After the Sheriffís Department has gone off duty at 12:00 PM and the State Police have gone to bed at 1:00 AM, your local police Department will still be on duty to answer your urgent calls.Sincerely,Rep. Jim AnnisDistrict 26Dover-Foxcroft(Izzy's note - please remember that while this letter comes from D-F the situation is the same for all our communities in TRC.)NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.