Two central Maine police departments have an officer in isolation, one quarantined after traveling overseas while the other self-isolated due to a fever, as the coronavirus outbreak spreads further in Maine.

Meanwhile, other departments are progressing with added safety protocols and keeping staffing levels the same as call numbers are reduced.

The Portland Press Herald reported Monday that Maine has 107 cases of coronavirus, an increase of 18 since Sunday. Further, 12 people are hospitalized, while 2,700 have been tested.

Hallowell Police Chief Eric Nason said one of the department’s officers, who Nason declined to identify, is currently in a 14-day quarantine after traveling to a country that is widely affected by the virus. Nason said the officer did not have any contact with any other police department members or facilities.

“Once the officer returned to his home from his trip, the officer was told not to return to work until after the 14-day quarantine because of the location the officer traveled from,” he said. “If he shows no symptoms after the quarantine, he’ll report back to work.”

Nason also did not identify the country to which the officer traveled, aside from called it a “Level 3” country. According to the Center for Disease Control & Prevention, Level 3 countries are showing “widespread, ongoing transmission” of the virus. Any visitors to “Level 3” countries will be asked by the CDC to stay home for 14 days.


Level 3 countries include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, the United Kingdom and Vatican City.

Monmouth Police Chief Kevin Mulherin said one of his reserve officers is in self-isolation after getting a fever last week. That officer, who Mulherin declined to name, was not working while sick.

“He had not worked … prior to the fever,” Mulherin said. “He was supposed to have worked this weekend but that shift was covered by another officer.”

Kennebec County Sheriff Ken Mason said a couple staff members from the Kennebec County jail have quarantined themselves at home, while other staff is limiting contact with the public or working from home.

“They understand the need to protect their fellow employees and the inmates they are entrusted to care for,” he said.

Nason said Monday that the department has seen a reduction in calls, but staffing is remaining at the same level. He said was worried about other department officers becoming sick, just like he would be worried about them getting a cold or the flu.


Mulherin said his department is seeing fewer calls. He added that his small department could be adversely affected by an officer coming down with the virus.

“I’m worried about officers getting sick because of the number of people I have,” he said. “The officers are cleaning the cruisers and work stations both before and after their shifts.”

Augusta Police Deputy Chief Kevin Lully said the department has seen fewer calls because fewer people are active in the community. He also noted changes to the way officers respond to calls, such as handling nonemergency calls by telephone and practicing social distancing.

Lully said staffing in Augusta has not changed and Police Chief Jared Mills said there are no known exposures to the virus within the department.

“We are concerned for their safety on a daily basis already, as we know where are inherent risks involved with police work,” Lully said. “This adds another level and layer of precautions we need to take to protect them.”

“At this time, we have an adequate supply of protective equipment and policies in place to keep the officers as safe as they possibly can be under the circumstances,” Mills added.


Mason also said his office is seeing a drop in the call volume.

“People are pretty much hunkered down at home,” he said. “For this, we in law enforcement and corrections are grateful.”

Gardiner Police Chief Jim Toman said his department will be implementing a new staffing schedule on March 30, or sooner if needed. He said staffing levels will not decrease unless “a significant number” of officers can’t work.

“The new, temporary schedule can accommodate the temporary loss of several officers if need be,” he said.

Toman said no member of the Gardiner department has been quarantined and he is “absolutely worried” about the health and wellness of his staff.

Winthrop Police Chief Ryan Frost said his department has had 18% more calls from March 1 to March 23 than the same period last year. He said “the increase is mostly due to our officers being proactive and visible in the community. ”

Frost said none of Winthrop’s officers have been quarantined, and the department is maintaining the same level of staffing.

“I have concerns as things progress but as with other segments of our society we have certain measures in place to help reduce our risks,” Frost said.

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