CLINTON — Voters overwhelmingly supported the local Police Department today, approving its budget 314–176 during a special referendum.

Voters had rejected the department’s budget at the annual Town Meeting in June.

As dozens of people arrived to vote on reconsidering the police budget, a random sample of early voters showed support for the measure.

“With the problems we have with the younger generation in this town, we need them,” said John Michaud, one of the first to vote when the polls opened at noon.

Steve Wicker, who plans to open a small pharmacy in town, also voted in favor the department’s budget.

“I feel they are necessary,” Wicker said.

Police Chief Craig Johnson said he had hoped to talk to voters today, but was instead in his office, down the hall from the polling station, fielding calls ranging from child-custody disputes to criminal trespassing complaints.

Johnson said Town Manager Warren Hatch helped answer an unusually large number of calls to the department.

Earlier in the day, Johnson said he had not put much thought to the budget vote.

“To tell you the truth, I haven’t had time to think about it,” Johnson said. “We’ve been running calls all morning.”

Johnson, who waited at the Town Office as ballots were being counted, was visibly relieved by the results.

“I guess that means I can go home now and sleep,” he said.

Ten people lined up to vote before the polls opened at noon, and about 75 had voted in the first hour, according to a clerk.

David Goodard, a resident of Clinton for 10 years who attended two of the three public hearings held over the last two months, said he and his wife support the budget measure.

“If we lose our Police Department, we are moving,” Goodard said.

The last two voters of the day, Pauline and Bob Clark, said they voted in favor of the department’s budget.

Jesse Scardina — 861-9239
[email protected]