MADISON — The Board of Selectmen and Somerset County officials are working on finalizing the details of a contract between the town and the county regarding police operations in the coming year, officials said Monday.

Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said Monday that he has met with some of the officers in the Madison Police Department since Police Chief Barry Moores was put on leave earlier this month. The town voted on June 8 to approve a budget that included consolidating the current Madison Police Department with the sheriff’s office. It is set to take effect July 1.

“This is a first-time endeavor,” Lancaster said to the board at a regular selectmen’s meeting Monday night. “We’re learning as we go. The biggest thing I think we need to accomplish is a contract that clearly delineates what we’ll be doing.”

Lancaster also answered questions that the board presented regarding the upcoming transition.

“Thank you very much for working on putting this in place,” Board Chairman Al Veneziano said to Lancaster. “One of the biggest concerns I hear from people is that our cars will be running to Rockwood and Jackman. I know that’s something you’ve said over and over again will not happen, and we’re depending on you for that.”

Lancaster said he has issued a general order that prohibits Madison cruisers from leaving town except in certain emergency cases. He said the order has been read and signed by the Madison officers.

“Can we put something specific in about the cruisers?” asked Selectman Michael Edgerly. “A lot of the concerns I have heard are specifically related to the cruisers not leaving Madison except in emergency cases. I think we have to do our work ahead of time to ensure things are spelled out in the contract.”

The agreement would work similarly to a mutual aid agreement, Lancaster said. A copy of the draft agreement was not available Monday night, though Town Manager Tim Curtis referred to a section pertaining to the coverage area for Madison officers. “It clearly states that (the officers) will not be scattered throughout the county and their duties will be here in Madison,” Curtis said. “They would respond to any other mutual aid just as they would if they were our own police department.”

Selectman Paul Fortin asked Lancaster whether he felt the Madison police station is adequately equipped.

“For now it will be adequate,” Lancaster said. “I think it’s very important we allow the public access to the police.”

Fortin also asked whether Lancaster will be overseeing the department personally or whether he will be shifting the duty to another officer. He said it will likely be a staff sergeant that will be overseeing regular reports in Madison.

According to town officials, Madison will continue to receive 24-hour police coverage out of the Weston Avenue station as a division of the sheriff’s office. The contract draft, which is still being reviewed by Lancaster, the board of selectmen and Somerset County Administrator Dawn DiBlasi, specifically addresses the transition and a plan for restoring the Madison Police Department if the consolidation does not work out in the coming year, according to Curtis.

Moores, who was originally slated to stay in office through December, said Monday that he could not comment on the transition because he was not involved with it. He said he had no concerns about the transition.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board unanimously approved the hiring of Curtis as town manager. Curtis, who is also the town’s consultant for economic development, has served as interim town manager since February. He will be paid a salary of $65,000 plus benefits.

The board also voted unanimously for Veneziano to continue as chairman and for Jack Ducharme to continue as vice-chairman.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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