SOUTH PARIS — The Oxford County Sheriff’s Office, Maine State Police and the Sûreté du Québec will partner to keep American and Canadian travelers safe over the holiday weekend.

In the U.S., it’s Columbus Day weekend. In Canada, it’s Action de Grâce, a holiday similar to the American Thanksgiving celebrated the second Monday in October.

Sheriff Wayne Gallant met with Lt. Daniel Campagna, director of Integrated Border Enforcement Teams, at the sheriff’s office in South Paris on Thursday to coordinate the interagency effort.

“Our agencies are very much alike,” Campagna said. “We have the same philosophy . . . our goal is to see that the Americans coming up (to Canada) and the (Québécois) driving down to see the colors . . . that they get home safe.”

The joint effort is called Safety Without Borders and involves checkpoints on both sides of the border. The interagency, cross-border initiative also includes Vermont and New York state police.

Gallant said the only checkpoint in Oxford County will be at Routes 2 and 26 in Bethel on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. He said deputies and Maine State Police troopers will be checking for seat belt use and other nonintrusive safety measures.

Another aspect of the effort is educating people about the laws of both countries. For instance, he said, the legal drinking age in Canada is 18; in Maine, it’s 21. Also Canadians are not allowed to have cellphones in their cars; Americans are.

Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will also be part of the effort, Gallant said.


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