WATERVILLE — If you witness a drug deal in your neighborhood, should you call the police? What about if you see your next door neighbor involved in a domestic dispute? If you do call police, must you have give your name?
Those are some of the questions City Councilor Karen Rancourt-Thomas, D-Ward 7, hopes police will help answer at community meetings set for Monday, March 10, at the Muskie Center on Gold Street.
One session will be noon to 2 p.m., for older people and those who likely are home during the day; another session will be 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Child care will be available during the evening session.
Rancourt-Thomas, who lives in the city’s South End, said she received a flurry of calls for about two weeks straight from residents she represents, saying they had seen a variety of incidents, including a marijuana deal, domestic abuse and pit bull terriers running loose, but they were not sure how to report them.
“I called (police Chief Joseph Massey) and said a lot of people are afraid to report crimes,” Rancourt-Thomas said. “Is there something we can do — maybe set up informational meetings with police? I think a lot of people are afraid to report crimes because they don’t want neighbors to think it’s them. Joe said that’d be a great idea. It’s for the whole city. It isn’t just for the South End.”
South End Neighborhood Association coordinator Jackie Dupont got on board, as did City Councilor Dana Bushee, D-Ward 6, Rancourt-Thomas said. Dupont will take notes at the meetings and Bushee arranged for child care for the evening session.
Rancourt-Thomas emphasized that the meetings are for people who live anywhere in the city.
“Everyone’s welcome, and they can bring their questions and hopefully, we can resolve issues,” she said. “It’s to make the whole city better for the citizens of Waterville.”
Deputy police Chief Charles Rumsey said the meetings are an opportunity for police to get together with residents and talk about neighborhood safety, address concerns they may have and answer questions. Police also will discuss the kinds of information residents can pass on to police if they witness a crime and report it.
Any time a group of citizens wants to meet, police see it as an important opportunity because community policing is about working together, Rumsey said.
He said Massey and several members of the Police Department will attend the sessions.