TURNER – Town officials said Monday that they only recently became aware of a proposal by the state police to take over Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office call coverage in Turner.

According to Town Manager Kurt Schaub, county Commissioner Sally Christner first became aware of this proposal from state police, which the Sheriff’s Office rejected, at a Greene Select Board meeting in September and brought it to town officials’ attention.

At the Sept. 26 meeting in Greene, Sheriff Eric Samson said that as part of restructuring and updating its agreements with county sheriff’s offices, state police proposed taking over 24/7 call coverage in Turner and Minot, according to a video recording of the meeting.

Samson, who presented to Greene selectmen with Sen. Jeff Timberlake, R-Turner, said it was his understanding that state police wanted “more 24-hour coverage” of the Maine Turnpike and I-295 and “were interested in a portion of Oxford and Androscoggin (counties), specifically Turner.”

He said state police said they were interested in Turner and Minot because it fit well with their other patrols nearby.

Both towns, like many other small towns without police departments, depend on county sheriff’s offices to provide local law enforcement coverage. All municipalities in a county support the sheriff’s office through their tax contributions. In Androscoggin County, Poland is the only town that officially “contracts” with ACSO to provide more robust, 24/7 coverage of the town.


State police will also answer calls if they fall within their purview, such as vehicle crashes on state highways, or as needed elsewhere.

However, “just because (state police is) covering a town doesn’t mean we’ll have someone patrolling it,” Samson said.

“But that was (what) was offered,” Samson said. “I have no idea why, it doesn’t make sense to us.”

Christner, who represents Leeds, Livermore, Livermore Falls, Minot and Turner, said at the Turner Select Board meeting Monday that the details of this proposal “took me by surprise.”

“My problem with that whole process is that the towns should have been a part of that whole process,” she said. “I made it clear to the parties involved that it’s one thing to leave out details; (it’s another) problem that both towns which I represent were not involved.”

Public Safety Director and Rescue Chief Lisa Bennett said her department would be “very nervous about losing ASO.”


“We’ve been to a lot of serious calls, and we can’t enter the scene until someone gets there to secure the scene,” she said.

Rescue must wait for law enforcement to clear a scene before rescue can enter in calls involving domestic violence or weapons, Schaub said.

“We’re waiting for state police to get out of bed . . . we’ve waited 45 minutes before,” Bennett said, referring to the fact that even if state police are on call, they may not be actively patrolling if it’s after a certain hour at night.

Schaub said the town has had a “terrific relationship” with the Sheriff’s Office. No changes have been made or agreed upon as of Monday night.

In other news, repairs to the town offices begin this week. Over the summer, a corroded pipe burst, flooding the Town Hall. The contractor will work at night to not disrupt election preparations, Schaub said. The only cost to the town is its $1,000 insurance deductible.

This story was updated to reflect that Poland is the only municipality in Androscoggin County that has an official contract with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office to provide additional law enforcement coverage beyond typical patrols and responding to calls.

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