GOULDSBORO – Residents in town cast ballots Tuesday on a controversial question about whether to keep the police department.
“I really think our police chief got a raw deal,” said resident John Alley.
A citizen’s petition put the question about whether to disband the police department and contract with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office before voters.
“I really think it’s important that we have a police department in order to protect our children and all the citizens of the town,” said resident Anna Tucker after voting.
“We came out to vote to keep our police department in Gouldsboro,” Alley said.
“Exactly,” his wife, Judith, added.
“We think it’s very important,” her husband said. “I think it makes the town feel more comfortable knowing we have one handy.”
Police Chief Tyler Dunbar, the youngest chief in the state, handed in his resignation two weeks ago on the day the town was originally scheduled to vote on the issue. Two days later, Town Manager Sherri Cox handed in her resignation. Dunbar’s last day is Wednesday. Cox’s resignation is effective Aug. 12.
“All the controversy, trying to sort that out,” is why resident Bentley Howard said he arrived early to vote. “I think we should keep the police in town.”
Nobody wanted to talk on camera about why the citizen’s petition was brought forward.
The town currently has two full time and one part time officer. The annual cost is around $214,000 compared to approximately $300,000 for police protection through the sheriff’s office.
In addition to voting on the police department, residents also are selecting three selectmen and three planning board members.
The town clerk said it would probably be midnight before they finish tallying the four ballots.