CHINA — Growing up, Erasmo Gonzalez wanted to be either a policeman or a teacher.

Now he’s both.

The 35-year-old ex-Californian who’s China’s new part-time police officer introduced himself to selectmen last week.

He and his family moved to Maine a little over a year ago. They did not intend to stay, but Gonzalez said he “can’t imagine raising (his son) anywhere else.”

He just completed the 100-hour law enforcement course at the criminal justice academy in Vassalboro. He works at the Kennebec County Correctional Facility in Augusta, where his teaching experience is valuable in the Criminogenic Addiction Recovery Academy program, or CARA.

The program — started last year by the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department, the Office of Substance Abuse and the Board of Corrections — is a six-week intensive course, with followup, to help rehabilitate substance abusers.


Gonzalez told selectmen he spent almost four years with the Los Angeles Police Department, was a Sonoma County deputy for a year and worked in wildlife law enforcement. When he’s not working as a policeman, he teaches mathematics. He’s also a certified Emergency Medical Technician.

Selectmen welcomed him and asked about the contrast between Maine and California.

In Maine, “You make it through the winter and enjoy the rest of the year,” Gonzalez said.

Board members talked about what else Gonzalez needs for his China position, such as having the town police shoulder patch redesigned. Board Chairman Peter Foote and Town Manager Daniel L’Heureux intend to make sure he meets local fire and rescue chiefs and Erskine Academy officials.

Like his predecessor, James Lane, Gonzalez will supplement the work of state and county law officers in town.

Residents who need to reach Gonzalez in an emergency should dial 911. For nonemergencies, he can be reached through the Town Office.


In other business last week:

* Selectmen added Joseph Berkall, James Booth and Timothy Theriault to the committee now called Thurston Park II, which will follow up on some of the recommendations made last year by the original Thurston Park Committee.

* Board members noted that China’s annual Earth Day cleanup is Saturday and the second collection day for unneeded medications will be April 30 at the transfer station.

* They talked with two people whose properties have been forfeited to the town for unpaid taxes and agreed to give each until the end of April to redeem their houses by paying all back and current fees and taxes.

* They reviewed L’Heureux’s proposed notice to Russell Coston about his Dirigo Road junkyard and recommended more emphasis on the May 31 deadline to bring the property into compliance with conditions they set in December 2010.

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