CHINA — Selectmen this week said they intend to continue working with the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement coverage in town.

And in a further indication that the China Police Department will not resume operations any time soon, selectmen are interested in selling the town’s lone police cruiser.

China pays for the sheriff’s office to patrol the town and at the town meeting in June voters approved spending an additional $34,000 in fiscal year 2021-22 for about another 10 hours of coverage per week, at $65 an hour.

In the prior year, the town budgeted about $40,500 for up to 26 hours of coverage a week by China’s police force.

Following the town meeting vote, however, the China department was inactivated, Town Manager Becky Hapgood said Tuesday.

China officers all worked part-time and had other full-time jobs, making it difficult for them to meet the town’s coverage needs.

“We were supposed to have them for 25 hours a week and could barely get 25 hours a month,” Hapgood said.

The Maine State Police provide patrol coverage in China, Albion and Windsor for about a third of the year, while the sheriff’s office covers the remainder of the year, according to state police Lt. Patrick Hood.

China had looked into contracting with the sheriff’s office for full-time coverage, or an additional 40 hours per week, but didn’t have the money to pay such a bill.

The additional 10 hours of coverage allows China to request more targeted policing unique to the town’s needs, such as conducting speed enforcement in some areas at specific times, according to sheriff’s Lt. Chris Read.

He said other towns occasionally request specific patrol details, but China is the only one that has an agreement with the sheriff’s office for additional weekly coverage.

“I’m very happy with what we’ve got. I think it’s a marked improvement over what we had,” Selectman Wayne Chadwick said at a meeting Monday. “We get great reports that tell what happened.”

Chadwick asked if a contract could be signed to lock in the hourly rate from the sheriff’s office. Hapgood said the rate will remain the same for next fiscal year and she will ask about a contract beyond that.

Chadwick also said he wants to see the town’s police cruiser sold before it depreciates in value.

Hapgood said she will factor the potential sale of the cruiser into next year’s budget.

The Oakland Police Department told her earlier that the cruiser would be of interest to municipal departments in Maine.

Sheriff’s Deputy Ivano Stefanizzi provided an update for selectmen Monday on coverage. He said that there are no gaps in coverage and noted that most of the traffic stops in town happen between 5 and 7 a.m.

“There is constantly patrol on the road,” Stefanizzi said.

Board member Jeanne-Marie Marquis asked if the officers carry Narcan, which is used for emergency treatment of an opioid overdose.

All deputies carry Narcan and are trained to use it, he said.

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