County accepting responsibility
To the Editor:
I read the article in The Citizen 4/22 about Oxford County Sheriff’s Department releasing the Bethel Police of policing neighboring towns. It’s about time! For years it has bothered me that our police are called to other towns just because we have someone working 24/7 on patrol. At a recent budget meeting I asked why selectmen didn’t set policy to keep our Bethel police cars in town to protect the taxpayers who pay their salaries. One selectman commented that we might be held liable if we didn’t respond to an emergency.
In the past I asked why we couldn’t charge our neighbors for police service to do the Sheriff’s Department’s duty. The response in tow of those towns was “we called County, not Bethel and we pay for County coverage.”
I asked the former town manager once about liability if a shooting or accident happened in another town; he stated “That’s why we have insurance.” Chief Deputy Dane Tripp cites in the article that we indeed as a town could be held responsible for a mishap.
My concern is if we hire Oxford County Sheriff’s Department and phase out our Bethel Police Department, I can see that Newry, Gilead, Woodstock, Greenwood, Albany, Lovell, etc., will probably be getting our Bethel assigned deputies after midnight because they are the only ones out there unless Oxford changes its policies.
By keeping our Bethel Police Department we can keep local control and let the Sheriff’s Department deal with our neighboring towns for service, which they are being paid to do.