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Police Shortage

County Departments are in need of Officers.
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 4:39 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - A shortage of police officers all over the country is also affecting departments in the County.

“In May of 2019 we happened to have lost seven people in a month, seven officers in a month, so we have been, all this time hiring, training, losing, hiring, training, losing. So currently, knock on wood, we’re up to staff except for one, we have one vacancy.” said Chief Laurie Kelly of the Presque Isle Police Department.

“Currently Houlton Police Department has 6 open positions, one supervisor, one command staff personnel, 4 patrol officers. In addition the seventh position would be an animal control officer.” added Chief Tim DeLuca of the Houlton Police Department. Departments are constantly recruiting for new officers. Many times they are all going after the same people, so some communities are looking at different incentives for new recruits and to retain current officers.

“We were in Maine state retirement then the city got out of it so as a retention tool the city went back to Maine state retirement and we have probably one of the better retirement packages that there are so we have that, we have a take home car program.” added Kelly. Police work can be a very stressful job and when you are short staffed it puts an added burden on the department.

“The officers get tired, they’re working extra hours. They need to take time off and they need to have vacation time so that stretches our limits thin. So that puts a stress on everybody, their responsibilities, increased responsibilities, increased tasks, the inability to take care of all the administrative tasks and again it effects everyone in the department.”

Chief Kelly may see some light at the end of the tunnel as Presque Isle hires new officers.

“We’re hoping to fill that last position and get ya’ know within the next year, year and a half get our newest five people trained and, on the road, and serving the community.” added Kelly. Chief DeLuca continues to recruit new staff. He also knows the importance of the officers he already has on board.

“These officers, these men and women here have stepped up. They have a positive attitude. They cover for each other. They work extra for people that have a vacations and this staff here, it’s the men and women of this department that make this work.” added DeLuca.

Deluca and Kelly are doing everything they can to live up the motto to Serve and Protect.

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