CHINA — If you’re a cop who really likes to own your own beat, then the town of China might be for you.

The town is looking for a part-time police officer to help provide public safety in town.

China has employed a single part-time police officer for at least 25 years, said Town Manager Dan L’Heureux. The officer is provided with a squad car, a firearm, a bullet-proof vest and other equipment, but is focused mainly on proactive community policing, L’Heureux said.

That means the officer isn’t participating in car chases, breaking down doors or investigating violent crimes. Those jobs are left to the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine State Police, which both patrol China.

According to Interim Kennebec County Sheriff Ryan Reardon, deputies received 1,569 calls for service from China in 2014. There have been 1,242 calls for service since January, he added.

The job of China’s police officer entails mainly showing up at public events, monitoring speed details and checking property, L’Heureux said.

China’s most recent police officer, Shawn Esler, left the town in June 2015 because he was promoted to captain at the Waterville Fire Department, where he works full time.

On Oct. 29, China selectmen voted to start searching for a new police officer to replace Esler, L’Heureux said. A committee that looked into the position considered enhancing the position to take on more law enforcement responsibility but decided against it because it would require certified standards and procedures.

The officer will be paid an hourly wage and will work 10 to 12 hours a week, he added. As an hourly worker, the officer will not receive health insurance or other benefits from the town. The officer’s rate of pay will be negotiated between the town and the selected candidate, L’Heureux added.

This year’s police budget is $13,000, and the town will provide a vehicle and equipment.

The town has received half a dozen applicants for the job. Priority candidates are those with full certification from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, also known as blue pin officers, L’Heureux said. The town expects to hire an officer within a week or two, L’Heureux added.

Other Maine communities, including nearby Randolph, enlist single police officers, he added. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 4,328 people were living in China, almost 1,000 more than Clinton, which has its own police force with three full-time police officers.

China’s sole officer could be the genesis of a municipal police force, but there hasn’t been any serious move in that direction, L’Heureux said.

“China is reasonably well covered” by the sheriff’s office and state police, he said. “There hasn’t been any strong push to become a full department.”

The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office splits patrol responsibilities in China with the Maine State Police on a biweekly basis. Deputies respond to all types of calls in China, including unattended deaths, assaults, motor vehicle thefts, burglaries, speeding violations and traffic accidents, Reardon said.

“It’s everything you could possibly cover as a cop,” he said.

Town officials have floated the possibility of contracting with the sheriff’s office to provide patrol service a few times in recent years, but the proposal has never moved forward, Reardon said. In the past, his office has helped the China police officer with training and equipment such as a laptop to log calls, he added.

“We’ve certainly been a good community partner for them,” he said. “We would offer that again.”

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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