MEXICO — Does Regional School Unit 10 need a second school resource officer? Mexico Police Chief Roy Hodsdon thinks so, and his department has been awarded a $101,492 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grant to make it possible.

With a new pre-kindergarten though grade eight school expected to be constructed in Mexico by 2025, Hodsdon said he applied for a school resource officer COPS grant.

Mexico Police Chief Roy Hodsdon. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times file

“I’m trying to prepare for the future because within a few years, preK-8th grade — everything is going to be in our town of Mexico,” he said. “So I wanted to have this COPS grant in place to help out, because it’s a need.”

Rumford Police Officer Doug Maifeld has been serving Rumford and Mexico schools as the SRO, but Hodsdon said that’s not enough.

“In my opinion, that big an area is too much for one resource officer to handle,” he said.

“A second SRO, if accepted, would be great,” said Maifeld, who has worked as the school resource officer with RSU 10 since January 2020. “I am kept pretty busy between all four schools — two elementary schools, the middle school and the high school, and would openly accept assistance.”


Hodsdon said the basis of the grant application was that “I want to be able to put a police officer in the school where the students can see that we’re just normal people trying to do our job and help them. We don’t want to be against them. We want to work with them.”

He added that he spoke with Superintendent Deb Alden when he wrote this grant, “under the premise that it doesn’t mean it has to be accepted if I was awarded it.”

There will be a cost associated with having a second school resource officer in RSU 10. Hodsdon is hopeful that the school district will pick up the 25 percent local share of the first three years of the grant and the full cost of the fourth year.

Mexico’s contribution for the second SRO would be applied to gear and training, as well as supplying a police cruiser for SRO use.

Hodsdon said he also wants to gauge the interest of having the SRO also serve the Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico.

He said the local match for the first three years is around $35,000 total, with the fourth year being the full price tag of around $44,000 for the officer.


Hodsdon said he has up to 13 months to implement the grant.

“I’ve set up some meetings with the superintendent and probably the board chair to discuss the grant and the local cost share,” he said.

“$11,000 a year for a COPS grant for 40 hours over 36 weeks for a police officer in the schools is a good deal,” Hodsdon said. “It would allow the person to go in a few weeks before school starts, transition with whatever training is needed, work with staff. Then at the end of it, the SRO would have time to work with staff to debrief, decide what they need to do for the following year.”

Hodsdon said the second SRO would be a Mexico reserve officer who would be offered the option of serving the department by filling police shifts during school vacation time.

“There’s a need and I don’t think anyone disagrees with that,” he said. “I think it’s important we have someone from our agency represent RSU 10 since it’s going to be in our town … and work with the other school resource officer as well.”

Optimistically, Hodsdon said the new SRO could begin as soon as the next school year.


“(Maifeld’s) helped our agency tremendously by taking those (truancy) calls that we would have had to respond to,” Hodsdon said. “Our call volume is up and if you add in what Doug’s handling for us, juvenile related, it’s huge.

“There’s a definite need,” he added. “I’d seen, after the first year alone, what Doug had dealt with and how much we need another school resource officer.”.

Maifeld said he’s been in the elementary schools far more than the middle and high school so far this year due to behavioral issues.

“I have to believe COVID has something to do with it,” Maifeld said. “The anxiety, the time spent out of school and at home behind a Zoom camera.”

Maifeld said he made numerous visits during COVID to deliver materials, check mental health, just to say “hi” and for truancy.

“I absolutely love being an SRO and interacting in a positive way with the students,” he said. “In the past, I was used to the middle/high school students knowing me in and out of uniform and now I have the younger students seeing me and saying, ‘Hi, Officer Maifeld.'”


Hodsdon, in his 25th year with the department, said he’s excited about the SRO grant.

“I think it’s great for the town, great for the kids,” he said.

“We’ve always been a community oriented police department, and I think this will get a foot in the door to start opening some of our youth programs back up,” Hodsdon added.

The department has had a Police Explorer program since 2007, but “it’s on idle right now. Because of COVID, everything just stalled or changed.”

Hodsdon believes it could take up to a year to find the right person to be the school resource officer.

“This has to be a certified blue-pin officer because of the number of hours they’d be working,” he said. “That person would have to go to the police academy to be a certified school resource officer as well.”

Mexico police are also utilizing another COPS grant, which is helping pay for Mexico’s fifth officer, Ashley Rich.

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