Media Archive

Piscataquis County gets cash for safe driving record

Article from Bangor Daily News, Wednesday, September 22, 2004

By Diana Bowley
of the NEWS Staff

DOVER-FOXCROFT - The safe driving habits of the Piscataquis County Sheriff's Department in 2003 has brought dividends to the county.Once again, Piscataquis County placed first among the 16 counties in the Maine County Commissioners Association Self-Funded Risk Pools for having the safest driving record of those who operate county-owned vehicles. Along with that recognition came a $2,250 bonus.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the Piscataquis County Sheriff's Department, the only department that uses county-owned vehicles, has garnered honors. Androscoggin County placed second and Hancock County placed third for 2003.

Last year, the county tied with Hancock County for first place. The county also tied for first place in 1999 and 2000 and placed second in 2001, according to Malcolm Ulmer, claims manager for the MCCA's risk pool. A total of $5,000 is divvied up each year between the three counties that have the safest records, he said.

"The fact they're consistently in the top three shows a commitment to safety," Ulmer said Tuesday,

Those accomplishments have resulted in bringing more than $5,000 in loss prevention incentives into the county's general fund over the four-year period, according to Sheriff John Goggin.

The announcement of the department's latest award, made Tuesday by Commissioner Tony Bartley at the commissioners' meeting, was well received.

"Our congratulations, sheriff," Commissioner Eben DeWitt told Goggin.

Each of Maine's counties contributes to the self-funded risk insurance risk pool annually to cover any county liability costs. The move by counties to become their own insurers was made several years ago when it became difficult for counties to find insurance companies willing to provide them liability coverage.

Not long after the pool was organized, Piscataquis County began assigning police cruisers to specific officers and that, in essence, shifted more responsibilities onto the individual drivers, according to Commissioner Eben DeWitt. Goggin agreed that the change had been beneficial to the county.

"They [officers] kind of take on the ownership of that vehicle, and they're not going to take any unnecessary risks," Goggin said.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.