Media Archive

Brownville search for police chief comes up short

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 46, November 13, 2002

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

BROWNVILLE The search for a new police chief is now closed.

After a closed-door session to discuss the eight candidates for the position - vacant since August - selectmen voted Thursday not to hire any applicants to the position.

Town Manager Sophie Wilson said the town will not re-advertise the position, either; based on the recommendation of the hiring committee that interviewed the candidates.

The town is going to continue "with the status quo until March town meeting," Wilson said, working collaboratively with Milo and sharing the employment of Milo Police Chief Todd Lyford.

In the meantime, the town will "go back to the drawing board and look at our options with the town of Milo, the sheriff's department and the state police," said Wilson.

The decision to not hire a police chief from the pool of applicants was unanimous. The vote to continue working with Milo until March was not; selectmen voted 4-0, with Gary Cook abstaining.

Thursday's vote does not discount a vote taken Oct. 15 by selectmen after a public hearing on various policing options, Wilson said. Selectmen are now faced with a different scenario, she said, referring to the lack of a candidate that the board felt comfortable hiring for the job. In addition, Wilson said, the town's candidate pool shrinks due to the salary being offered, between $25,000 and $30,000.

"When we went to that public meeting [Oct. 15] and we asked for public imput, we wanted to know whether we should pursue trying to find a police chief," Wilson said. "We pursued looking for a chief, and as you can tell they did not find a chief, so now we're in a position where we have to look at our options.

"Every effort was made to find a chief," she added, including nationwide advertising. Wilson said half of the candidates considered came from out of state.

The town will continue with one full-time patrol officer, a shared police chief with Milo and part-time reserve officers on a 12-hour shift schedule, the town manager said. The 12-hour shift requires two officers to cover 24 hours a day, with between 16 and 19 hours of rolling patrol duty and the remainder of the shift served on call.

In other business, selectmen voted to name David East to the vacant post as animal control officer. Wilson said Tuesday she has not confirmed with East that he would accept the position.

The board also appointed Dean Henderson as the cemetary sexton, filling the position held by Ralph Applebee for nearly 30 years. Applebee passed away recently. Frank Perkins was named as assistant cemetary sexton.

Selectmen also signed a letter of support to the county in support of Piscataquis Economic Development Council's request for $75,000 in funding for 2003. The request includes a $35,000 increase over previous years' funding.

Selectmen also moved to put the sale of 2.83 acres of town property on the same parcel as the wastewater treatment plant to abutting landowner Duane Cobum on the town meeting warrant in March. Wilson said that the land-locked piece of property, measuring 200-feet wide by 900-feet long, is needed by Cobum so he has access to his garage. The approximate value of the property is $1,200, Wilson said.

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