RUMFORD — A former Mexico police officer was hired last week by selectmen to fill a Police Department vacancy for an administrative officer.
Chief Stacy Carter recommended Matthew DeRoche of Mexico as his choice at Thursday’s board meeting.
The vacancy was created when Eric Richard, 46, an administrative officer with the Rumford Police Department, was shot on Nov. 10 by a Maine Warden and killed.
During the board meeting, neither Carter nor selectmen mentioned why the position was vacant.
After advertising the position in local newspapers and online, Carter said he received five applications. He did background checks on the two with the most qualifications, then chose DeRoche and submitted DeRoche’s application for approval.
Carter said DeRoche currently works for NewPage Inc., Rumford’s paper mill.
Selectmen acting Chairman Jeff Sterling said the board had extensively discussed the position at a previous workshop, then asked Carter to describe the job.
Carter said the position was formerly that of a dispatcher.
To better spread out the police workload, the administrative officer dispatches when the police station is open during weekdays until 4 p.m.
“The position has really taken on a more significant role than just dispatching,” he said.
The administrative officer also handles minor complaints, fingerprints prisoners and sex offenders when they go to the station to register, and does a lot of filing of criminal history records.
Carter said this enables patrolling officers to remain on the street handling complaints, incidents or accidents, and being visible.
“So they’re able to do more than just answer the phone and talk on the radio and that’s why we changed the position to administrative officer,” he said.
“This position, it allows your patrolmen to stay on the road and it allows your detectives to investigate what they need to do as opposed to sitting there and doing paperwork?” Sterling asked.
“Right,” Carter said. “The position has taken a lot more of the paperwork and entering complaints…. It’s a very important position for us.”
Selectman Jolene Lovejoy asked if it is also possible that the administrative officer could serve as a reserve officer for the department.
Carter answered yes. He said DeRoche served as a reserve officer for Mexico in 2009, but that certification isn’t current now. However, the chief said he’d spoken with an official at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro and learned how DeRoche can be recertified.
Selectman Brad Adley asked if DeRoche had gone through the academy to become a full-time police officer; Carter said he hasn’t.
“Is this position built into the budget?” Adley asked.
“Yes,” the chief said.
Selectman Jeremy Volkernick then motioned to hire DeRoche for the position. Lovejoy seconded it, and a 4-0 vote OK’d it. Selectmen Chairman Greg Buccina was absent.