PARIS — The Oxford County Commission signed a memorandum of understanding to provide law enforcement for the town of Dixfield for the foreseeable future.

The sheriff’s department has provided around-the-clock service to the town since Dixfield closed its police department on Aug. 7 when its police chief resigned.

Wednesday’s action by the commissioners makes the longtime commitment official. Oxford County will provide police coverage  for a minimum of six months. The document states that the agreement with the county “will likely need to be extended to June 30, 2021, and beyond.”

Dixfield has requested four designated certified deputies to provide 24-hour coverage. The agreement states that the county may need some time before providing all four designated deputies.

The town will reimburse the sheriff’s department $23,171 per month for law enforcement. When the county can provide all four deputies, Dixfield must  pay $30,894 each month for the enhanced service.

The town will pay monthly until a more formal contract can be signed.


While the department remains closed, the sheriff’s department will secure the police department’s property, case files and evidence. It will also work with the Oxford County District Attorney’s Office on any outstanding cases.

In other business, the commissioners approved the transfer of two corrections officers to the patrol division — Brandon Pelton and Jonathan Wainwright. Commissioners struggled with the transfer of Wainwright — the son of Oxford County Sheriff Christopher Wainwright. Commissioners David Duguay and Steven Merrill expressed reservations on Wainwright’s transfer because of appearance, perception and innuendoes.

Chief Deputy James Urquhart, who will serve as the younger Wainwright’s direct supervisor, pointed out that the nepotism rules shouldn’t apply in this case because Wainwright is already employed by the sheriff’s department. Not a new hire, Jonathan Wainwright is merely making a lateral move from corrections to patrol, Urquhart said.

Jail Administrator Dana Dillingham, his current supervisor, praised his work ethic and said the county has invested much time and money in training him.

“I think it’s a huge loss for the county if we don’t hire him,” Dillingham said.

Chairman Timothy Turner said the structure is in place to prevent the younger Wainwright from receiving preferential treatment.


“I don’t feel we should be holding any employee back,” Turner said.

In the end Merrill voted to support the transfer. Duguay, who said he was torn on the issue, voted to abstain instead of opposing the move for a 2-0-1 vote.

After hiring Michael Jones as a part-time corrections officer, commissioners agreed to post job openings in the corrections department

In other business, commissioners will seek up to three bids to replace a boiler in the county jail.

Sheriff Wainwright reported that the county received $26,700 from a coronavirus emergency grant through the Maine Department of Public Safety. That covers nearly all of the department’s COVID-19 expenses.

The commissioners met with all the department heads in executive session for more than 30 minutes, but no action was taken immediately after that session.

County Administrator Tom Winsor missed his second consecutive meeting. He was also absent from the July meeting. Executive assistant Abby Shanor said Winsor has been working remotely from home.

The meeting lasted more than eight hours, including three executive sessions and a short break for lunch.

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