OXFORD — The Board of Selectmen got a close-up view of the Police Department on Thursday night from Chief Jon Tibbetts, who demonstrated some equipment, including a Taser, and reported on personnel and programs.

The demonstration and discussion were an effort by Town Manager Butch Asselin to bring department heads before the selectmen to familiarize them with activities.

Tibbetts and Lt. Mike Ward have a combined 60 years of experience.

Tibbetts talked about the years of service by many officers, including continuing education efforts in either obtaining advance education or educating others, and the 25th year of the D.A.R.E. program. Tibbetts also spoke about the three new body cameras the department recently acquired.

Tibbetts said Friday that the nationwide D.A.R.E. program, which teaches students to resist drug use and abuse, has been a success in the Oxford Hills School District. 

“I think it’s an effective program,” Tibbetts said. The 10-week program for fifth-graders includes lessons on building self-esteem and conflict resolution.

Originally developed as an anti-drug abuse program, it was revamped about 10 years ago to expand into other areas. Two classes are still aimed at educating students about the harmful effects of drugs, he said.

“Even if we can just save one student it’s worth it,” he said of the program’s benefits.

Tibbetts said the biggest thing to come out of the program is the availability of a resource officer in the schools.

“It’s phenomenal to have an officer in school now. It’s a huge benefit,” he said, noting the camaraderie that has developed between the officer and students.

In other matters:

• Board Chairman Peter Laverdiere said he will not seek re-election at the annual elections in June and thanked the town for its support the past five years;

• Highway Department Foreman Mark Fox said his crew is scraping roads and fixing pot holes;

• Selectmen suspended the pay raise policy for this year and will give employees a 2 percent cost-of-living increase while the town manager develops a new pay raise plan;

• Selectmen reappointed John Palmer to the Appeals Board for three years, starting July 1;

• Selectmen accepted a grant of $2,244 from the Bureau of Highway Safety for municipal speed enforcement;

• Selectmen tabled a $500 bid from Mark Fox for the Police Department’s Jeep Patriot and a $2,000 bid from Taylor Moore for an old town fire engine; and

• Selectmen accepted an $8,577.79 grant from Highway Safety for Distracted Driving.

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