AUBURN — Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins wants something given to almost every other Maine sheriff: a Web site.

“It’s important because we’re trying to be an open agency that’s responsive to its citizens,” Desjardins said Monday. He imagines posting a wide variety of information: from mundane stuff like the county jail’s visiting hours to information on day-to-day activities and safety alerts.

But there’s no money. So, he’s asking for a hand.

“I’ve been looking at my budget and there’s nothing to spare,” Desjardins said Monday. “If I could find someone who would be willing to donate some time to help, that’d be great.”

Almost every other Maine county has a presence on the Internet. Of the state’s 16 sheriff’s departments, only Androscoggin and rural Piscataquis are absent.

Some pages are fairly simple, listing little more than a page of contact numbers as part of the county’s site. Others are quite elaborate. For instance, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department has a site that includes flashing alerts, arrest logs and lists of fugitives.

Currently, Androscoggin County government has no site. Only one department, the unified emergency management agency, has one.

Eventually, county leaders hope to create a common Internet site for all its departments, Commissioner Jonathan LaBonte said. However, money would be needed, and there has been little discussion among the three commissioners. All took office seven months ago.

“It’s on a long list of things that have taken longer than we planned,” LaBonte said. Besides a Web site, he hopes the county will someday be reachable through a single phone number. Instead, such changes have been pushed aside for such issues as jail consolidation and the ongoing negotiations with the Sheriff’s Department labor union.

For Desjardins, his hope is that even a modest Web site would serve people throughout the county. Information as simple as department contact numbers, how to schedule a visit to the jail or details of ongoing county programs in local towns might give people a better understanding of the department.

He also hopes to follow Lewiston and Auburn police onto Facebook. Both have a growing number of people following their work.

“It was always a money issue,” Desjardins said. “I’m determined to get a site up this year. I just need some help.”

[email protected]

To reach Sheriff Guy Desjardins, call 784-7361 ext. 230 or e-mail him at [email protected]


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