FARMINGTON — Selectmen on Tuesday night heard the 2021 year-end review for the Police Department.

“Jesse Clement cracked the (catalytic converter) case this morning,” police Chief Kenneth Charles said. He spoke of a woman leaving her 2004 vehicle parked near the movie theater for two days and discovering the catalytic converters had been sawn off. Two converters for that model cost $800, he noted.

“Stealing catalytic converters is not to put diapers on a baby; it is sad to see,” Charles said. Rather it probably has to do with the drug problem that has changed over the last 20 years, is growing exponentially fast today, he noted, adding, “Everything seems to have fentanyl in it.”

In 2021, five officers departed with only one loss due to retirement, Charles said.

In June 2021, Charles told the board he had five openings to fill. At that meeting, Charles said his department’s pay scale was off a few dollars compared to larger cities and several dollars off compared to state jobs. There is no overtime with state jobs, he noted then.

In May, voters approved a $7.6 million budget that included $1.7 million for the Police Department. It included an increase of about $100,000 for salaries, wages and part time — one part of an attempt to limit the number of officers leaving the department.


“We needed to stop the hemorrhaging,” Charles said Tuesday. “I think we have done that. Now we need an infusion to get new people.”

In the last year two officers were hired, he said. The department hosted Phase II, the in-person law enforcement pre-service academy that follows an online phase for them and another for two other potential hires, Charles noted.

“We offered one of the better classes in the state,” he said. “We have shown the (Maine Criminal) Academy we have the resources, the facility. We have a lot to offer not just locally but statewide. We represented ourselves very well.”

It was determined those potential candidates were not a good match for his department, Charles stated.

Promotions were awarded to Clement and Ethan Boyd while Shane Cote was recognized for 25 years and Ryan Rosie for 10 years with the department, Charles noted. “You want longevity,” he said. “You don’t figure out how to do police work in the first year.”

Two recently hired officers are taking the Phase II training at Southern Maine Community College and will be introduced to the board at a later meeting, Charles said. A conditional offer has been made to another, pending completion of the background checks, he added.


Another incentive enacted to keep officers was a move to provide one vehicle for each officer. Once the new officers have completed the academy and have been trained, Charles said including him there will be 13 officers and 11 vehicles. “We are getting to the point where we will be needing some vehicles,” he noted.

Some vehicles in the department were retired state police vehicles for which updated components have been acquired at little to no cost, Charles said. The challenge is how to affordably outfit cruisers for each officer, as outfitting is about a third of the cost of a new vehicle, he added.

Radar in some vehicles is up to 18 years old. Charles said he would probably be coming before the board to replace some of the older equipment and maybe to replace older computers for vehicles as well.

“We are trying to recycle everything we can,” he added.

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