BETHEL — Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant told the Board of Selectmen this week that the number of calls from town residents has slowly decreased over the past few years.
Gallant said the Sheriff's Office began drafting incident reports on a yearly basis beginning in 2010, after residents voted to contract law enforcement duties to the office.
“I think having a lot of police presence in town has helped,” Gallant said. “Visibility is a good deterrent to crime.”
Gallant pointed out in the incident report that in 2010, the total number of calls from Bethel was 1,573, In 2011, it was 1,416; in 2012 it stands at 1,159.
Selectman Peter Southam noticed that while the overall number of calls on the incident reports have decreased, there has been a steady increase in the number of calls for burglar alarms.
“I wasn't sure if there was something we could be doing to lower the number, or if these were just false alarms,” Southam said.
Gallant confirmed that a majority of them are false alarms and those numbers will probably remain high.
Chairman Stan Howe applauded Gallant and the rest of the Sheriff's Office for the job they've done since 2010.
“I don't know why more towns don't follow this model,” Howe said. “It gives our town manager more time to work on other things without having to worry as much about the police department.”
In other business, the board unanimously approved the appointment of several committee members, many of them incumbents.
While several of the committees were able to fill every position, the board also pointed out that some of the positions that the town has advertised for over the last few months have not been filled. One is the Comprehensive Plan Committee, which requires nine people but has only one applicant.
Town Manager James Doar told the board they would “put another advertisement out, beat the bushes a little bit and see if anybody is interested.”
The board also approved Brent Angevine as a trustee for the Bethel Water District on the condition that he recuse himself from any situation involving his employer, Cross Excavation of Bethel. Howe requested the board receive minutes of trustee meetings to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.
Doar told selectmen at the end of their meeting that he drafted a letter to resident Rick Savage regarding claims he made to the Sun Journal this week that the Board of Selectmen is "corrupt.”
“I've basically told him that in the interest of transparency, he should come forward and talk with us about this together,” Doar said. “If he's going to say these things, he should back up his claims. I say he should either put up or shut up.”
Howe agreed, saying, “This board and the previous Board of Selectmen have always gone above and beyond to do the right thing.”