Rumford police looking to hire two officers

 RUMFORD — Fall and early winter brought changes to the police department when three officers left to pursue work elsewhere and a longtime officer retired.

Among other duties, this kept Chief Stacy Carter busy trying to find two more officers to restore the roster to 12 including himself. As of Wednesday, Carter was still looking.

“We're trying to hire two, and one is the utility officer, who is used to reduce overtime,” Carter said. “He fills in for people when they're on vacation, personal days, sick leave, training and deployment.”

“That position is really an asset, because I'm able to save a lot of money in our budget for us,” he said.

In October, with Cpl. Matt Noyes and officer Michael Belanger still deployed overseas, acting Cpl. K. Scott Mills left to become an Augusta policeman.

Carter hired Joseph Sage and Brad Gallant as full-time officers, with Gallant the utility officer and Sage the officer to replace Sgt. David Bean, who retired on Nov. 22 after a 25-year career.

Gallant, formerly of the Mexico Police Department, graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy on Dec. 17 and is now patrolling the streets for Rumford.

On Dec. 2, Noyes returned from a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan with the Army National Guard.

The E5 sergeant with the Guard then left Rumford police on Dec. 14 to become an Oxford County Sheriff's deputy serving Bethel. Noyes had served six years with Rumford police.

Three days later and on the same day that Gallant graduated from the state police academy, officer Ian Theriault left to become a Scarborough policeman.

The departures have left the department with less than the 12 officers Carter says he needs to provide 24/7 coverage, with each officer working 12-hour shift rotations.

“We need to run two men per shift, so that's four shifts and eight patrol officers that we need to have,” he said.

“The utility officer would be the ninth patrol officer and his function is to try and reduce overtime by filling vacancies, so I find him as a necessity.”

“So that's what our force is comprised of, to include myself and two detectives, and the detectives' major responsibilities are major crimes, drug investigations and child abuse investigations, and that keeps them more than busy,” Carter said.

“So, in order for us to run efficiently and try and keep costs down, we need 12 officers, including myself, which is below the New England or Northeast average of officers for a police department for a town of our population, according to FBI statistics.”

Counting Officer Belanger, who is still deployed until sometime next year, the department has 10 officers.

“I have reserves that are helping, although the regular patrol staff is working pretty steady to fill the voids,” Carter said.

With the departure of Sgt. Bean, the average age of department policemen dropped to about 30.

“Although we have several young officers, we still have a good complement of seasoned, experienced officers and two detectives,” Carter said.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Reorganize

and there woulldn"t be a need to hire additional officers. The population doesn"t warrant it. What kind of training do these officers get that the chief cries safety all the time to keep force at these numbers. Back when the town was three times the size the job got done the officers did the job. With all the technology that this dept. has to make the job easier they seem to get softer. This dept. should have no more than 8 total staffing and the cheif should be doing detective work and investigations. The pay does not just warrant admin only.

 's picture

Frank please explain how you

Frank please explain how you cover a department with only eight persons for 24/7 coverage. That means no one gets a day off, no one gets vacation time, no one can get sick. It also means one officer working alone on shift. Would you like to respond to a fight in progress at one of the bars with ten guys involved by yourself with backup maybe 20 minutes out. Lets stop pretending Rumford is Mayberry and be realistic here. The only way to have an 8 person force is to have dual coverage with the sherrifs department and rely on mutual aid from Mexico which eventually costs the same if not more than hiring two more officers. Seriously Frank go back and do some more studying before you run for town office again. It might do you some good.

 's picture

It is my understanding that

The selectmen will likely appoint two more officers. They are concerned for the safety of the officers and the liability for the town. Realistically, aside from a suggestion by former Bethel Town Manager Scott Cole that Rumford consider coverage by the Sheriff's Department, there have been no other options that have been considered by the board. They cannot just cut two officers without having a plan to maintain 24 hour coverage for the town. Many of the incidents that occur on the overnights would be unsafe for a single officer to handle alone, and officers from other departments cannot cover Rumford while doing justice to their communities. If anyone has a suggestion, please let somebody know so that it can be discussed.

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I guess you had to be there

Just like inside jokes, I guess you had to be there to believe it. You obviously weren't there when the proposal was made, so you don't believe it happened.

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Which Meeting???

I don't recall the date, or even the year, but Scott Cole did address the Rumford Selectmen about his plan to have all police coverage in oxford County come under the Sheriffs Department. It wasn't just Bethel. He is now the Administrator for Oxford County, so perhaps that could lend itself to a reason for his being concerned for the other towns.

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:)

It really wasn't that important to me. However, the fact that you had to dig to find the answer on such a minute issue says quite a bit about how you choose to use your time. I have more important things to do.
Have a Nice Day!

 's picture

:)

The meeting to which you refer was as you have stated. However, Scott Cole has researched the cost effectiveness of eliminating all police departments in the county, he was consulted by someone in Rumford regarding the study, and I do recall reading the document. It may not be part of any meeting minutes, and it may not have been part of any official board meeting. I have wasted way too much time bantering this issue with you, so I will end my comments there.

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