BANGOR- City councilors, Bangor Police officers, and community members revisited the idea of police being able to fine group homes, low barrier shelters, and residential care facilities for non-emergency calls.
Examples of non-emergency calls from those types of facilities include things such as a resident failing to do kitchen duty or follow lights out rules.
Bangor Police Chief Mark Hathaway said they’ve receive more than 300 of those types of calls since January.
“This is starting to impact the police work we need to provide to everyone else in the city,” said Bangor city councilor, Laura Supica.
That’s why police officers are asking for permission to fine the facilities after a certain number of calls.
Chief Hathaway has been clear in saying their goal isn’t to make money from the fines, but to encourage these facilities to get adequate staffing and training.
“It’s something the whole nation is facing right now,” said Supica. “We have a lot of crisis in our healthcare, mental health, industries and a lot of it has to do with staffing. It’s unfortunate we can’t get the federal or state dollars to support the boots on the ground.”
After the first three calls, these facilities would be charged $31 per responding officer.
Following the eighth call deemed a non-emergency the fee would go up to $155.
“It makes me sad that it’s coming to this but it’s important these institutions kind of work and support their employees,” Supica added.
Representatives from these types of organizations and facilities at Monday night’s meeting said they’re open to discussing the topic.
Chief Hathaway said the meeting was full of good dialog and everyone was working together.
“I think there was a lot of confusion and tonight’s conversation cleared that up,” said Boyd Kronholm, the executive director at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter. “I think with more communication everyone will be on the same page.”
There will be a first reading of this at the next council meeting.
Councilors say they are hoping there will be a forum about the fees before it goes to a vote.