Augusta police on Thursday led another multi-agency effort to create community connections and crack down on criminal behavior.

Known as Operation Hot Spot, the Augusta police, along with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, Probation and Parole and Maine State Police, fanned out across the city to conduct random searches and interviews. The effort led to five arrests, a summons and the discovery of one marijuana growing operation; but even more important, it provided information the department will use to help keep the city safe, said Deputy Chief Jared Mills, of the Augusta police.

“We have found that by conducting these random initiatives with our law enforcement partners, we are able to join forces with the community to identify problems and work toward solutions,” Mills said. “This effort Thursday evening was a successful collaboration for the law enforcement agencies and the community as well.”

Police launched the hot spot program this spring by talking to businesses owners and pedestrians. Officers, who handed out fliers explaining the program, heard feedback from people anxious to rid their neighborhood of ongoing criminal activity. Thursday’s was the second hot spot run since that initial informational effort.

“Several citizens express how happy they are to see us in their neighborhood with such a presence and that the past efforts have started to improve the quality of life in their areas,” Mills said.

Officers met 96 people Thursday and conducted 12 interviews. They also conducted bail and probation checks on a total of 51 people and warrant checks on another 22. Nine buildings and two vehicles were searched with the consent of the owners.

Mills said there will be other hot spots in the future. He encouraged anyone with information or concerns that might be useful to that effort to call Augusta police at 626-2370, ext. 3436.

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