LEWISTON — Mayor Carl Sheline and City Council President Linda Scott announced the formation of an Advisory Committee on Community Safety on Wednesday.

The announcement of the committee comes a week after two community forums were held to field concerns and feedback from residents regarding recent violence in the city, including a Knox Street shooting that left two dead.

A joint statement issued by Sheline and Scott on Wednesday said the committee will “continue the conversation begun at the two community safety forums held last week.”

“It is clear from these meetings that there is more work to be done to improve communication and cooperation among the city’s residents and between residents and the city,” the statement said.

The statement also said the mayoral ad hoc committee will be tasked with “advising and making recommendations to the City Council and municipal staff on the subject of community safety in Lewiston.”

“The committee will explore the topic of community safety, and make recommendations on policy, practice, and procedural changes to address these topics and others,” the statement said. “Our goal is to bring all parts of the community together to help solve these issues collectively. Everyone can do better and it will take everyone to move this forward to create a better future for Lewiston.”


The committee will feature 13 members, including Scott and Abdikadir Negeye of Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services as co-chairs.

It will also feature Police Chief David St. Pierre; Superintendent of Schools Jake Langlais; Androscoggin County District Attorney Neil McLean Jr.; Lewiston attorney Jack Clifford; Tree Street Youth Executive Director Julia Sleeper; City Councilor Scott Harriman; School Committee member Ashley Medina and more.

During last week’s forums, which at times became confrontational, several residents said the city and local organizations need to collaborate to address the root causes of crime and violence in the city.

Others said there is fear surrounding the perception of an increase in crime and a lingering distrust of police that needs to be overcome, but that it has to be a mutual effort between community members, law enforcement and other officials.

Sheline did not elaborate on specific topics the committee may discuss, stating it has not met yet, but said they will be looking at input from last week’s forums, where notes were taken.

Many of the appointed committee members were also present during one or both meetings.


During the first forum, on Aug. 22, multiple people raised the possibility of establishing a citizens’ review board to review alleged police misconduct, a step that some said could increase accountability and transparency. Others said accountability extends to the entire community, that parents need to be more involved, and there needs to be more positive outlets for young people.

Shukri Abdirahman, who will serve on the advisory committee, said during the first forum that the community needs to stop pointing fingers and making it a race issue. She said instead, residents should be questioning the systems that are causing young people to turn to crime.

On Aug. 24, one resident described “a big divide” in the community. Councilor Bob McCarthy, a city councilor, said part of the problem is that so many people are unwilling to work with police on solving crimes or preventing them.

Lewiston police officials have said that one of the biggest barriers to solving recent crimes is the lack of cooperation from witnesses. However, several people have said police must also do a better job of engaging with the Somali and new Mainer communities.

Sheline said the committee meeting schedule will be set soon, with a first meeting likely in September.

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