Outsourcing cost comparison requested

Sheriff's deputies to assist with Thomaston coverage

By Beth A. Birmingham | Jan 29, 2019
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Thomaston selectmen prepare to vote on approving receiving law enforcement assistance from the Knox County Sheriff's Office at their Jan. 28 meeting. From left are Beverly St. Clair, Peter McCrea, Bill Hahn and Chairman Peter Lammert.

Thomaston — The Thomaston Board of Selectmen voted Jan. 28 to approve receiving temporary law enforcement assistance from the Knox County Sheriff's Office while one of Thomaston's police officers attends an 18-week training at the Criminal Justice Academy.

With funds coming out of the Police Department's patrol budget, KCSO will provide 77 hours of coverage per week at a cost of $55,440 total until the end of May, according to Chief Tim Hoppe.

As of Jan. 22, Hoppe was down to himself and Officer Jacob Labo as patrol personnel, while Officer Juan Alcala is in training.

Being short-staffed has been a recurring theme among law enforcement agencies recently. This situation has initiated discussions regarding the advisability of sustaining the existing Thomaston Police Department or dissolving it and seeking full-time coverage from the county.

At the Jan. 17 board meeting, Sheriff Tim Carroll offered an estimated cost of $420,000 to have four sworn law enforcement officers from KCSO provide law enforcement coverage to the town for one year.

Carroll indicated the numbers are rough and could be refined as details are worked out, if Thomaston decides to go in that direction.

He said that, should Thomaston close its department, he would have to go to the county to ask for more personnel.

At the prompting of Budget Committee member Charlie Grover, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Jan. 28 to request the Budget Committee to complete a detailed comparison of the police department's cost for attracting and retaining personnel, purchasing and maintaining equipment, benefits and the like versus the cost of outsourcing the service.

"I believe this [comparison] can be completed in a reasonable timeframe and be ready for our budget discussion," Grover noted in an email to the board, adding, "This way the BOS has all the relevant information to consider in discussing this subject with the town residents."

In other business

The board approved the application of Threshers Brewing Co. LLC, for a liquor license at its new establishment on Starr Street, which aims to open in May.

The board is seeking interested citizens to fill a vacancy on the District 8 Knox County Budget Committee. The nomination deadline is March 1.

The board approved a proposal from the Mid Coast Economic Development District to create an economic community development consultant position at a cost of $10,000 to $15,000 annually from the Economic TIF District Funds.

The board voted to table nominating members to an Economic Development Committee that would work with the consultant and MCEDD.

And an update was given on renovation plans at the former Lura Libby facility.

The Board of Selectmen will next meet Monday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. in Watts Hall.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Beth Birmingham | Jan 29, 2019 13:19

This would be for "dedicated" coverage to Thomaston for a specific number of officers and hours, plus other amenities, not just for an "as needed" basis like other towns. I hope this helps clarify.

Posted by: Judy Olson | Jan 29, 2019 11:39

Thomaston is a part of Knox County.  The Knox County Sheriff's Dept. is already being funded by the county taxpayers.  Why wouldn't Thomaston be provided coverage like any other town that comprises Knox County, many of which do not have any town law enforcement.  It appears Thomaston is paying twice for the Sheriff's Dept. to cover its area.  Are all the towns in Knox County with no law enforcement on their payroll also paying in additional funds to the Knox County Sheriff's Dept.??

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