The meeting came to order at 7:05 PM
Present were: Committee members Frank Murray, Jim Willis, Stacey Curtis; Administrative Assistant Stu Marckoon, Hancock Selectman Charles Wheeler and Hancock Police Chief George Moon.
Mr. Moon explained that the Hancock Police Patrol started as Clam Wardens but evolved into a police patrol. He said they started by looking at volunteers and at transportation. He said they developed by-laws for the force, and got a good response from townspeople. He said it took 3-to-4 months to get going. He said the patrol bought a vehicle, radios, and uniforms. He said the locals harassed them at first to see how far they could be pushed.
Mr. Wheeler said there are 4 or 5 members who currently have arrest authority. He said they are special police officers. He said the Selectmen have control over how much authority and training the officers can have. He said the police chief decides who has arrest authority. He said too many restrictions could be a problem.
Mr. Murray asked what the criteria are for selecting volunteers. Mr. Moon said members have to be at least 18-years old and have a high school diploma. He said they perform a background check. He said there is no upper age limit. Mr. Wheeler provided a copy of the application they use.
There was discussion about liability insurance. Mr. Wheeler said Maine Municipal Association provides a policy for about $1,700 per year. He said the town provides some funding, and donations provide more. He said the municipality has not yet purchased a cruiser. He said officers charge for special events, but patrol time is voluntary.
Mr. Moon said there were 34 volunteers at their first meeting. He said the volunteers are not reimbursed for mileage. Mr. Wheeler said his wife serves as dispatcher, but they use a cell phone a lot more now. Mr. Moon said the patrol started in 1973 and they’ve spotted a lot of fires while on patrol. Mr. Wheeler said the impetus is on the force to do it right, or they might not get town funding the next year. He said there is a great deal of training available on videotapes and computer disks.
Mr. Wheeler said having a police patrol in town pretty much guarantees a quick response. He said they try to patrol 7-nights a week. He said they handle between 200 and 300 incidents a year – mostly small stuff like lockouts or alarms. He said the Hancock patrol has inherited a lot of little jobs.
Members of the committee thanked Mr. Moon and Mr. Wheeler for visiting.
Mr. Willis said he would contact Brian McMaster of the Attorney General’s Office to see what the guidelines are to do a patrol similar to Hancock properly.
Stu said he would contact Maine Municipal Association to see what insurance ramifications there might be.
Other questions the committee felt needed exploration include the number of volunteers needed, when it could start, and what kind of budget would be needed to get going.
No meeting date was set for the next meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 8:20 PM
Stu Marckoon, Adm. Asst.