SKOWHEGAN — Two experienced officers were sworn-in Tuesday as the newest members of the police department.

At the regular selectmen’s meeting, Isaac Wacome and Jacob Pierce took their oath and became full-time officers, filling the department’s ranks.

Wacome, of Skowhegan, worked for the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office for about five years.

“I’ve been watching him patrol around and working with other officers and backing them up here in Skowhegan since I became the chief here,” police Chief David Bucknam said at the meeting.

Pierce, of Fairfield, comes to the department from the Oakland police force. Bucknam said Pierce has around 18 years of experience and is coming to “help us increase our presence at Redington-Fairview Hospital and our presence on the streets here in Skowhegan.”

“It’s great, amazing that we have these two coming to us to join our team here in Skowhegan,” Bucknam said.

The Skowhegan Police Department is composed of two part-time and 18 full-time employees, which includes the chief, deputy chief and administrative assistant; nine patrol officers/sergeants; two detectives; two hospital resource officers; one school resource officer; and one Maine Drug Enforcement Agency agent.

In recent weeks, members of the department and other mental health workers received mental health training as part of continued efforts to ensure safety within the community.

“I fully support the chief and share his belief that our relationship with the community is our most important job,” Deputy Chief Brian Gardiner said. “Having a solid and positive relationship is key to having our citizens and visitors feel safe.”

“The teamwork between the community and the police department is crucial to crime prevention and our fight against this state’s opiate epidemic.”

Right now, Bucknam said that about 70% of his staff is trained in mental health first aid and about 40% have been trained in crisis intervention. The department has a Crisis Intervention Team and its officers are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health situation.

Additionally, one of the department’s detectives was recently selected as one of 25 nationwide to attend a Secret Service training. Detective Sgt. Kelly Hooper, who has worked in law enforcement for 30 years, will receive training in digital extrapolation investigations.

“(Bucknam) has definitely improved morale and he has made great strides in providing excellent training for officers,” Town Manager Christine Almand said Wednesday. “He’s also placed a great emphasis on community engagement, and we can definitely feel that the community has embraced the department and the changes made.”


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