Androscoggin County Building in Auburn. 

AUBURN — The Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office will dedicate one of its Criminal Investigations Division’s detectives to handling domestic violence cases.

Sheriff Eric Samson identified the community need and deficiency in his department in consultation with his administrative team.

 “This provides us the chance to put a more complete case together,” Samson said.

The opportunity to shift resources came with the impending retirement of Capt. Raymond Lafrance after 40 years with the department. Lafrance’s position will be transferred to CID, and his salary will be used to pay the new domestic violence investigator.

Samson and District Attorney Andrew Robinson presented the plan Wednesday to the Androscoggin County Commission, which unanimously approved the plan.

The Sheriff’s Office will partner with Safe Voices, a domestic violence resource center and advocacy and support group that serves Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties.

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Robinson said he is excited by the prospect of a countywide detective who can dedicate his time gathering information on domestic violence cases. 

Often, county officers have limited time to fully investigate a case since they have to rush to their next call. The advantage of the new domestic violence investigator is that person can follow up with the victim within the first 24 to 48 hours — a time that is critical, Samson and Robinson said.

The hope is that the new position can help build trust and relationships.

The need is real, Samson said, since Lewiston in the only municipality in the county that has a full-time person investigating domestic violence cases.

While the position will largely focus on domestic violence, Samson added that the new detective will also fill in where needed with CID. 

He expects the new position will begin in the fall.

In other business, commissioners adopted the updated personnel policy with no further discussion by a 5-2 vote. The issue had been tabled the past few meetings when some of the commissioners wanted sections of the policy changed or rewritten. Matthew Roy of Lewiston and Isaiah Lary of Wales opposed the measure.

Bids will close at the end of the month for the major renovation of the clock tower atop the county building.

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