FARMINGTON — Selectmen approved two Police Department proposals and heard about the department’s drug detecting K-9 Tuesday night.

Selectmen unanimously accepted $2,153.70 from the Maine Community College System for the Police Department to teach a criminal justice class through the Foster Career and Technical Education Center at Mt. Blue Campus.

Police Chief Jack Peck said his department has been teaching the class for several years through a partnership with Central Maine Community College in Auburn. Students completing the program receive college credit. The college has offered to reimburse the department.

Peck said there are 33 classes taught by Detective Mark Bowering.

The money cover Bowerings’ wages. “There’s also $900 for overtime and guest speakers,” Peck said. “It’s a win-win situation for us.”

Peck’s proposal to spend $65,000 from the Public Works Equipment Reserve Account to convert a Freightliner 10-wheeler acquired from the federal government to a plow truck was also approved unanimously.

The town would use it for plowing, at times, and the Police Department would use it to watch for distracted drivers by parking it where officers can look down on vehicles.

“It could be difficult getting in and out of it,” Peck said. “We may set it up in a location where we can look down into other vehicles and radio another officer to respond,” Peck said. 

“I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” Selectman Scott Landry said.

Public Works Department Director Philip Hutchins said the truck would need the winch removed, plow gear added and the spare tire relocated.

“The town of Sanford has converted one. They paid HP Fairfield $70,000 for the conversion and painting,” Hutchins said.

Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis said, “Our crew can do some of the work. Essentially you’re getting a brand new $170,000 truck for $65,000.”

In a report on the K-9 program, selectmen were told Axel is trained to detect heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and crack cocaine and has performed 37 detections involving vehicles, rooms, people and items.

Peck said Axel and Lyman have also done community demonstrations.

“We’ve had  very positive reviews from demonstrations or when he was used,” Peck said. “It’s a big cost to the town, we’d like to continue the program.”

Lyman said Axel is with him in the cruiser whenever he is on duty.

“My involvement is pretty limited. I walk the dog around the car, spend maybe 15-20 minutes,” Lyman said.

Peck said other agencies have provided similar services to the town at no charge and his department was continuing that arrangement.

“The good news is the project seems very successful, Selectman Stephan Bunker said. “The bad news is we need to continue it.”

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Farmington Selectmen Tuesday approved spending $65,000 from the Public Works Equipment Reserve Account to convert a LESO-Acquired Freightliner Ten-Wheeler Truck to a plow truck. The Police Department will also use the vehicle. (Courtesy photo)

The Town of Sanford converted a LESO-Acquired Freighliner Ten-Wheeler Tuck to this plow truck. Farmington Selectmen approved spending $65,000 from the Public Works Equipment Reserve Account to convert one for that department and the police department to use. (Courtesy photo)


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