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By Jordan Wilson, Communications Coordinator, City of Sanford 

March Storm Response

During a recent series of severe storms characterized by high winds and icy conditions, city services faced significant challenges. The Sanford Fire and Police departments were inundated with hazards and emergencies, while the Public Works Highway Division worked tirelessly to barricade roads, clear hazards, and ensure safe roadways.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) played a pivotal role, handling 191 service calls and deploying more than 80 safety devices. Additionally, they reported more than 25 parking violations and addressed 22 road closures.

Dispatch services were also under immense pressure, receiving a total of 536 calls for services during a 24-hour period of the ice storm. The Fire Department responded to 61 incidents within a few hours, showcasing their commitment to public safety amidst challenging circumstances. The Police Department also played a crucial role in ensuring the safety of residents.

Recognizing the overwhelming demand on dispatch services, an Emergency Operations Center was activated at 9 pm on March 23. This served as a crucial hub to coordinate emergency response efforts and alleviate the strain on dispatch operations.

Given the regional nature of dispatch services, which experience a surge in volume during storms, the Sanford Regional Communications Center (SRCC) adopted a strategic approach. Low-priority calls were redirected via Incident and Resource systems, while high-priority calls continued to be dispatched as normal, ensuring efficient allocation of resources and prioritization of emergency responses.

Dispatch Updates

York County is gearing up to release a draft request for proposals (RFP) in the near future for a county-wide Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) purchase, with expectations of soliciting bids in May or June. This county-wide request aims not only to streamline the bidding process but also to enhance the prospects of securing grant funding for the CAD purchase. By fostering a more competitive environment among vendors, the RFP seeks to optimize the process while maximizing the potential for grant allocation.

Fire Department Updates

March was a busy month for the Fire Department, as they responded to a total of 436 calls for service. The breakdown of these calls is as follows:

  • Fires: 6 incidents
  • Rescue & emergency medical service: 254 incidents
  • Hazardous conditions: 33 incidents
  • Service calls: 37 incidents
  • Good intent calls: 20 incidents
  • False alarms & calls: 27 incidents
  • Severe weather & natural disasters: 59 incidents

Among these incidents, noteworthy events included two building fires. One occurred on River Street and the other took place in North Berwick, and the Sanford Fire Department provided mutual aid.

Police Department Grants and Program Updates

The Police Department recently introduced the Maine Community Policing Challenge to its officers, in collaboration with the Maine Community Policing Institute and the UMA Justice Studies program. This initiative aims to enroll as many as possible of the 3,000 officers from over 120 law enforcement agencies in Maine into the UMA Certificate in Community Policing, provided free of cost. Community policing works to promote mutual understanding and trust between police agencies and the communities they serve.

In other news, the Police Department’s completion of the initial phase of a multiphase application process for two grants marks progress towards further enhancing law enforcement practices in our community. One grant aims to support the addition of a second mental health first responder, while the other seeks to bolster funds for the Officer Wellness and Resilience Program, emphasizing the department’s commitment to holistic officer support.

Officer Raymond plans on hosting an impaired driving education campaign in partnership with Sanford High School, targeting junior and senior classes to reduce traffic fatalities during prom and graduation season.

Lastly, the Police Department announced Officer Gary Cray’s election as class president of the 45th Basic Law Enforcement Training Program. Officer Cray’s leadership within the law enforcement community is recognized, and he will deliver a speech at the upcoming graduation ceremony on May 17.

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