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Police Department and Dispatch Update: September 2023

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By Jordan Wilson, City of Sanford Communications Coordinator

Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system: The CAD system serves as the central tool for assigning, tracking, displaying, and archiving all dispatcher actions for each call. Sanford Regional Communication Center’s (SRCC) CAD system, known as IMC, is approaching its 25th year in service. The company supporting IMC estimates its remaining life expectancy to be around five to seven years.

To address this situation, SRCC has been surveying the available software options to determine the best course of action within the next two to three years. A new CAD system has an estimated cost of from $1 million to $1.5 million. One of the issues SRCC faces is that it contracts its services with five different police agencies, including Sanford PD, each of which pays separate fees to IMC. The acquisition of a new CAD system will be a collective effort. It is essential to build consensus among the current users to select a specific CAD solution.

Cost comparison of hiring certified vs. non-certified police officers: Non-certified officers must complete a 200-hour pre-service training, which is scheduled by the Maine Criminal Justice Academy (MCJA) and offered at specific times during the year. If the PD hires a non-certified officer outside of this training window, he or she cannot engage in police work until the course is offered and completed. This waiting period means they can’t participate in the Police Department’s Training Program (PTO), carry a weapon, or work as police officers. Once the 200-hour course is done, they enter the 12-week PTO program. Sometimes, the hire dates of non-certified officers align with these requirements, allowing for a smooth transition. However, sometimes they do not, resulting in a non-usable status while waiting for training opportunities.

In contrast, certified officers do not face these challenges. They bring valuable training, experience, instructorships, and a proven track record. There is a cost-saving factor as well; this resulted in savings of approximately $100,000 during the most recent recruitment/hiring period. However, the long-term vision should consider a mix of experienced officers who can immediately meet the department’s needs (certified) and those we can retain for the long run (non-certified). This balanced approach helps address both short-term and long-term goals effectively, according to the department.

Community paramedicine program: The city has received licensure by the State of Maine EMS for a community paramedicine program to work with the mental health unit. It was further announced that the state will award the city a $100,000 grant for the program’s first position. Deputy Chief Small introduced a national model (see photo) for integrating these coordinated resources, and the city now has all the necessary components to expand mental health and substance use disorder capacities. This program aims to optimize current resources by focusing on diverting individuals from the criminal justice system to evidence-based treatment pathways.

Mental health capacities: The Mental Health Unit (MHU) has continued to work with Maine Behavioral Health (MBH) to finalize a memorandum of understanding (MOU). This MOU aims to facilitate quicker access to mental health services within the network and streamline the process without adding pressure to the Sanford Emergency Department, which is currently facing challenges. The MOU has now been successfully completed, outlining the MHU’s role in coordinating rapid referral processes, conducting field assessments for crisis protocols, consulting with MBH on individual cases, and facilitating entry into services, whether through the Emergency Department at SMHC or other pathways. This represents a significant leap forward in enhancing the coordination and expeditious delivery of much-needed mental health services, serving as a definitive document that outlines the collaborative roles of MHU and MBH.

Calls for service: In the month of August, the Sanford Police Department received a total of 3,317 calls for service. Here is a summary of some of the arrests and summonses that occurred during this month:

  1. Tuesday, Aug. 1- A disturbance call led to the arrests of two juveniles. The 14-year-olds were charged with assault, reckless conduct, and aggravated assault.
  2. Saturday, Aug. 5– A warrant was served to a 44-year-old from Sanford. The individual was arrested and charged with failure to appear after being bailed.
  3. Wednesday, Aug. 9– A stolen vehicle report was taken on Brandy Lane, Sanford.
  4. Sunday, Aug. 13- An arrest was made following a traffic stop on Main St. A 31-year-old from Sanford was charged with operating with a suspended or revoked license and earlier violating a condition of release.
  5. Thursday, Aug. 17- A summons was issued following a vehicle crash on Main Street.
  6. Sunday, Aug. 20– Following a motor vehicle stop, a 20-year-old from Wells was issued a summons for displaying a fictitious vehicle certificate.
  7. Wednesday, Aug. 23– A 46-year-old was arrested on Riverside Avenue following a report of drug incidents.
  8. Friday, Aug. 25– A shoplifting incident on Main Street led to a 35-year-old from Sanford being charged with theft by deception.
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