OXFORD – The Board of Selectmen voted Thursday night to allow an Oxford policeman to take an unpaid leave of absence for an indefinite time beginning in mid-January.

The vote was unanimous after a short executive session.

Sgt. Theron Bickford severely injured his hand in an off-duty accident in October and has not returned to work.

Town Manager Michael Chammings said a reserve officer has been filling Bickford’s position and will continue until Bickford is able to return.

Oxford normally has five full-time police officers. Reserve police officers are hired by the town manager and their appointments are confirmed by the Board of Selectmen. They are trained and certified by the state, and some work in civilian jobs.

The reserve officer’s pay was being drawn from the Police Department’s budget. The town maintains a compensated-absences fund in case a town employee has an extended absence for medical reasons.

In other business, Chammings said he and town managers from Norway and Paris will meet with a representative from the state Department of Economic Development on Dec. 29 in Oxford to discuss a possible regional application for a Community Development Block Grant.

Chammings said the money would be a planning grant that would help the towns complete a layout study of Route 26. “We want to look at the best possible layout for Route 26,” he said.

Specifically, Chammings said the towns will study access routes and driveway entrances to identify safety factors and support future economic development along the state artery. “That is where all our businesses are coming in. They’re coming in and building on Route 26,” he said.

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