DIXFIELD — The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted Monday evening to hire the Maine Chiefs of Police Association to evaluate the Police Department.

Town Manager Linda Pagels-Wentworth said the $6,000 cost is “not really negotiable.

“I think that it’s a good value for us. We have enough money in our reserve accounts to cover the cost. The savings for the health insurance within the police department is more than the amount of the contract.”

The association is made up of active and retired police chiefs, sheriffs and senior law enforcement leaders who evaluate town police departments to see where they’re doing a good job and where they can improve.

“Looking at the chief retiring, the end of the COPS grant and the fact that we need to absorb the funds for that position for one year, I think it’s the perfect time to do it,” Pagels-Wentworth continued. “With all of the the talks about regionalization in the area, this can be an unemotional, safety-based approach to evaluating the department.”

Selectman Bob Withrow agreed. “I think it’s time we do it. If we have the money to do it right now, I think it’d be money well spent.”

Police Chief Richard Pickett said he thinks the evaluation is “long overdue.” He had nothing but good things to say about the group.

“I’ve been a member for years, and they’re just a class organization,” Pickett said. “They’ll tell you what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong and won’t mince words about it.”

In other business, Jim White, head of the Water Department, told selectmen that a Wisconsin company recently vacuumed the town reservoir tanks to remove sediment at the bottom.

During a June 24 selectmen meeting, the board unanimously voted to allow White to spend $2,500 for the work.

“I was expecting there to be a couple of inches accumulated, but it was actually around 4 inches, which means they had to do a little extra work,” White said. “There was a $525 surcharge, which means in all, the project cost $3,330.

“The tanks look really good right now, and I have it all recorded on a DVD,” he said. “If any of you have insomnia and want to see something interesting, I suggest you throw it on.”

During the board questions and comments section, Chairman Mac Gill said he wanted to respond to a comment a citizen made during the Oct. 21 board meeting.

“During our last meeting, we had a citizen make some accusations about one of our employees and how there was damage done to the stones on Severy Hill Cemetery,” he said. “That employee recently spoke to me. He’s been 27 years in the military, including 18 months in Vietnam, and has been the commander of the American Legion post in West Peru for the last six years. He respects veterans and veterans’ graves and was very upset that he was accused of doing some of these things. I just wanted to set the record straight.”

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