The Winslow Family 4th of July celebration will go on as usual this summer, but with a larger public safety presence than ever before.

Law enforcement officials from area police departments and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office will pitch in to help Winslow police officers cover the festivities.

“Parks and Recreation issued the permit to the Fourth of July Committee,” Winslow Town Manager Michael Heavener said Monday. “The event will occur.”

Worries are now quelled about not having enough police coverage for activities in town this year during the July 2-4 events, which draw about 70,000 people — nearly 10 times the town’s population — for a parade and other events such as a street dance and fireworks at Fort Halifax park.

Organizers said in February that the $11,000 estimated cost for the Winslow police department to provide police coverage of the event was too high, raising the prospect of the event moving out of town. In March, organizers and town officials had come closer to a solution, saying the town would revise the price to provide police coverage at the celebration with other agencies helping out.

Under the deal brokered for this year’s celebration, Winslow’s 11 police officers will get help from two Waterville and three Fairfield officers, as well as two patrol officers from the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, Heavener said. Two Kennebec County jail corrections officers will transport anyone who is arrested to the jail in Augusta, he said.


Heavener said he learned Monday that two officers from the Oakland Police Department also will be available to help. The amount of money needed for the overtime costs for police is $10,775, not including the Oakland officers’ costs. The town of Winslow will pay the officers up front and then bill the other law enforcement agencies they represent, according to Heavener. Winslow pitches in $2,650 annually to help with the cost.

“The event’s going to go on like it has in the past and we’re comfortable we have sufficient resources now to make sure it’s a safe and fun event for everyone,” Heavener said.

The event, held in town for 26 years, is put on by volunteers and run by a nonprofit group with a board of directors. All told, it typically costs $50,000 to $60,000.

The extra officers are needed primarily for two events during the celebration, Heavener said. At the July 3 street dance, two Fairfield officers and two Waterville officers will be on hand to help Winslow officers. On the night of July 4, when the fireworks occur, three Fairfield officers, two Waterville officers and two patrol deputies and two transport officers from the sheriff’s office will work, according to Heavener. He said at least two officers from Oakland probably will also work that night.

“On the evening of the Fourth, it’s the biggest crowd,” he said. “The park isn’t able to contain the crowd. They overflow into the street, so we end up closing down Route 201 and folks end up standing on 201 and the bridge to watch the fireworks.”

At peak times during the July 2-4 events, there will be a total of 20 officers on duty, according to Heavener, who is also a former Winslow police chief.


Heavener said estimates are that tens of thousands of people attend the parade on July 4 and 30,000 to 40,000 attend the fireworks that evening.

Officers from area communities work together in their daily work and know each other, according to Heavener.

“We do help each other, and we didn’t find out until today that Oakland will be able to assist us as well,” Heavener said. “I think the communities work well together.”

Heavener said he spoke Monday with Winslow police Chief Shawn O’Leary, and they discussed the fact that with help from other agencies, there will be sufficient public safety resources to manage the events.

“Although we didn’t personally have sufficient resources, with the additional help, we will end up with sufficient resources,” he said. “Obviously, we were very concerned about that, so we feel fortunate that we’ve been able to get to the level of staffing that we need.”

Calls placed Monday to Kevin Douglass, chairman of the Winslow Family 4th of July volunteer committee, and Gerald St. Amand, chairman of both the Town Council and the July 4th committee, were not returned Monday.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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