RICHMOND — The Richmond Police Department won a $165,000 federal grant to hire an additional officer for the next three years if the town agrees to keep the officer on for at least a fourth year.

Police Chief Scott MacMaster said the grant will allow the town to hire a new officer — the department’s sixth, who would have the dual roles of increasing investigative work and filling in for other officers while they are on vacation.

MacMaster anticipates the officer would have more time to do investigations than officers do now. Currently, they also have to respond to whatever calls come in while they investigate. Also, having an additional officer to fill in on shifts would reduce overtime costs, he said.

“Right now, officers follow up cases to the best of their ability; but at the same time, they’re also dealing with regular patrol functions,” MacMaster said. “So they can’t dedicate as much time to those cases when they’re dealing with harassment calls, barking-dog calls. … Having an extra officer could help increase our case clearance rates, help recover property.”

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins announced grants totaling $1.3 million were awarded to six Maine police departments, including Richmond’s, by the U.S. Department of Justice, to help communities increase community policing and crime prevention efforts.

“These funds will greatly help to improve Maine’s ability to address criminal justice and public safety issues by putting more cops on the beat,” Collins said in a news release.

The Richmond Police Department’s annual budget is about $345,000 this year.

To get the grant to pay an officer’s salary and benefits for three years, the town has to agree to pay at least the fourth year of those costs.

MacMaster is hopeful that having the new position will save enough funds in reduced part-time officer hours and in overtime costs to fund the position when the grant runs out.

He said selectmen will discuss whether to accept the grant at their meeting at 6 tonight at the Town Office.

Selectmen are also scheduled to:

* meet with Regional School Unit 2 Superintendent Virgel Hammonds;

* discuss possible grant funding to build a new Umberhine Public Library; and

* discuss enacting an ordinance for Town Meeting approval regulating the use of fireworks in residential areas.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.