FARMINGTON — The Police Department will participate in a border security program called Operation Stonegarden.

Selectmen approved acceptance of a $6,109 grant for the department to run designated patrols on Routes 2 and 4 and Routes 2 and 27 from May to September.

Expecting training this week from Border Patrol, Police Chief Jack Peck said Farmington and Rumford police have been invited to partner with the agency to watch for behavior such as potential drug- or sex-trafficking along these routes.

Operation Stonegarden started in 2005 and provides an opportunity for local police to exchange and share information with U.S. Customs and Border Protection on people coming down from the border through these routes, Border Patrol Agent Robert Leroux said.

“Police work extra hours along targeted routes to increase visibility and presence in communities and wilderness areas along the border,” according to an online description.  

The program is funded through the State Homeland Security Grant Program, administered by the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

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In other business Tuesday, selectmen approved using $154,566 from the Public Works’ equipment reserve fund to buy eight pieces of equipment.

The used equipment includes a 21-ton equipment trailer, a hot-patch wagon for filling in potholes, a skid steer with snowblower attachment, a Maine Department of Transportation used Volvo 10-wheeled plow truck, sand hoppers and a hay mulcher skid mount.

The department also wants to buy a large snowblower capable of being mounted on the department’s military front loader, said Phil Hutchins, department director.

“This unit will replace our 44-year-old 1973 Mercedes Uni-mog Snowblower which needs extensive mechanical and body work,” he said.

Hutchins presented a list of town equipment ready for trade-in or sale through a town auction. 

Selectmen agreed the department needed to replace some aging equipment to continue doing their duties properly. The board gave Hutchins and Town Manager Richard Davis the discretion to decide on a trade-in or sale of the town’s property.

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Hutchins figured the reserve account would still have $255,434 for the purchase of a new truck approved at town meeting in March.

Selectmen also awarded a contract for engineering services of the Anson Street-Titcomb Hill Road reconstruction project. This is part of the town’s five-year road program.

They accepted the lowest bid, $24,500, from Dirigo Engineering of Fairfield for roadway designs for the project.

The 3.77-mile project from Main Street to Mosher Hill will be done in two phases with half this year and half next year, Hutchins said. The engineering services will cover the entire project.

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Border Patrol Agent Robert Leroux talks about Operation Stonegarden with Farmington selectmen Tuesday.


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