WATERVILLE — Waterville police Officer Timothy Hinton on Tuesday received the Police Department’s Medal of Valor from police Chief Joseph Massey in front of the City Council, residents and nearly the entire police force.

Hinton has been recovering at home from two gunshot wounds he received Dec. 22, 2019, while pursuing a suspect in a shoplifting incident at Walmart.

Officer Tim Hinton receives the Waterville Police Department Medal of Valor from police Chief Joseph Massey at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Council Chairman Erik Thomas, at left, read aloud a proclamation honoring Hinton’s bravery on Dec. 22, 2019. Morning Sentinel photo by Amy Calder

Council Chairman Erik Thomas, D-Ward 7, read aloud a proclamation honoring Hinton for his bravery the day the suspect shot the officer and led him on a chase that ultimately included law enforcement from various agencies before ending in Canaan. The Waterville Regional Communications Center dispatchers who were on duty at the time, Brandy Stanley and Sarah Nelson, also were recognized Tuesday.

With Mayor Nick Isgro absent from the City Council due to illness, Thomas read aloud mayoral proclamations for Hinton and the dispatchers, saying that while Hinton was pursuing the alleged shoplifter, the suspect repeatedly slowed, stopped and shot at Hinton with an AR-15 style pistol, striking him in the arm. The suspect sped off and Hinton continued pursuing him. The suspect stopped his vehicle a short time later to ambush Hinton and wounded him a second time.

“Officer Hinton continued his pursuit until such time as he was ordered to stop,” Thomas said.

Meanwhile, Stanley and Nelson, working as a team, coordinated a multi-agency response to the incident that included directing police, firefighters and EMS workers to appropriate locations along the high-speed pursuit route to intercept the suspect and provide Hinton with medical treatment, according to the proclamation.

“It is with great appreciation that we acknowledge the actions of dispatchers Brandy Stanley and Sarah Nelson for their outstanding teamwork to provide the necessary resources for first responders to apprehend the armed suspect and provide life-saving medical treatment to Officer Hinton,” Thomas said.

Waterville police officials, including sergeants, detectives, dispatchers and their families, stood Tuesday along the walls of the Chace Community Forum in the Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons after arriving in a snowstorm to honor Hinton, Nelson and Stanley.

The three received standing ovations. Thomas said their police work is a great reminder of the “fantastic people” who work for the city.

“We certainly appreciate all the hard work the Police Department does, along with all the other employees of the city,” he said.

Waterville Council Chairman Erik Thomas reads aloud a proclamation Tuesday honoring police dispatchers Sarah Nelson, center, and Brandy Stanley for their teamwork on Dec. 22, 2019. Morning Sentinel photo by Amy Calder

Massey said after the meeting that Hinton has not yet returned to duty.

In other matters, councilors voted 6-0 to approve an agreement with the state to reconstruct Trafton Road, with $500,000 of the $4.3 million project to come from the city. Councilor Meg Smith, D-Ward 3, was absent from the meeting.

State Department of Transportation funds are now available to reconstruct Trafton Road

The DOT in July 2017 completed a $5 million interchange at Trafton Road, at mile 124 of Interstate 95. At the time, funds were not available to reconstruct Trafton Road itself, though a city and state agreement the council approved in 2014 stipulated the road would be reconstructed in the future and the city would fund $500,000 of the project.

The work to reconstruct the road will start this year, according to City Manager Michael Roy.

The council must take another vote to finalize the city-state agreement for Trafton Road reconstruction.

Councilor Rick Foss, R-Ward 5, asked Roy later in the meeting if Webb Road will also be improved, as he thinks it is in worse shape than Trafton. Roy said he is sure Webb Road is in the road work schedule, but he would check to see when it is slated for work.

“It needs it — you’re right,” he said.

The council voted 6-0 to approve the purchase of a new police cruiser to replace the 2018 Ford sport utility police vehicle that was riddled with bullets during the Dec. 22, 2019, incident. Roy said it received 21 bullet holes. The new cruiser will cost up to $47,000, with $37,000 of that for the vehicle itself, and $10,000 for transferring equipment into the cruiser and adding new equipment. Insurance will cover $22,200 of the cost for the new cruiser. The balance will be covered by surplus funds. The council must take another vote for the purchase to occur.

The council voted 6-0 to lease out space in the 60-by-80-foot, city-owned Robert A. LaFleur municipal airport’s north hangar to Riverside Aircraft Corp. Riverside plans to base a turboprop King Air 350i there during the three-year lease period, and it will be the first Jet-A fueled aircraft, besides the UPS aircraft, to be based at the airport in nearly 20 years, according to the council agenda. The hangar has been used primarily during winter months for cold aircraft storage. The lease amount will be $850 a month, starting May 1, with a 2% annual increase.

Councilors also took a final vote to rezone 209 College Ave. from Commercial-C to Contract Zoned District/Commercial-A to allow for four apartments at the site.

The council voted to appoint members to a new parking study committee to replace the current one. Members of the current committee, who will continue on the new committee, are John Fortier, Charlie Giguere, Cindy Jacobs, Al Hodsdon, Ken Vlodek, Brian Clark and Kevin Joseph, the owner of You Know Whose Pub and Guacamole’s. A different Kevin Joseph is co-owner of Joseph’s Fireside Steakhouse.

Councilors who expressed an interest in serving on the committee, and who were appointed Tuesday, are Flavia Oliveira, D-Ward 2, Sydney Mayhew, R-Ward 4, and Claude Francke, D-Ward 6. Resident Pam Merrill also expressed an interest and was appointed to the panel Tuesday, as was Linda Warner, who teaches classes at Yardgoods Center on The Concourse.

City Clerk Patti Dubois noted that the presidential primary election and statewide referendum will be held March 3 at The Elm on College Avenue for that election only. Thomas College, where elections usually are held, is not available that day. Dubois said absentee ballots are now available at City Hall.

Before the city started holding elections at Thomas a few years ago, they were held at the former American Legion Hall on College Avenue, which now is The Elm.

Elizabeth Leonard of the Poor People’s Campaign, an anti-poverty movement, announced that a new, 45-minute documentary, “We Cried Power,” will be shown at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Waterville Public Library. The showing is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served, she said. A discussion will follow the screening.

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