ELLSWORTH – Proposed changes have been made by Maine State Police to the call sharing program with sheriff departments throughout Maine.
Sheriff Scott Kane of Hancock County said state police officers want to cut back on the number of troopers patrolling Hancock County.
Eight of the 16 counties in Maine have this call sharing program.
“It makes it difficult for me to understand why when the state police have the same amount of troopers that I have as deputies why they can’t handle an equal amount of the case load,” said Sheriff Scott Kane.
Right now, the county sheriff departments cover 50 percent of the area. State police cover the other half.
“Our proposal would be to design those areas into six zones with each agency taking two zones. Washington County would have two zones, Hancock County would have two zones and Troop J would have two zones,” said Colonel John Cote of Maine State Police.
“One of Troop J’s zones would fall into each county,” he said.
Both Kane and Deputy Chief Michael Crabtree of Washington County said they’re now put in a tough spot.
“The biggest concern in Washington County is what is the plan moving forward? Cutting back to one slot what does that mean?” said Crabtree.
Cote said they proposed this change because they don’t have enough people on the front lines.
He said cutting back doesn’t mean the counties won’t have a state trooper near by.
“When urgent calls come in it really doesn’t matter if there’s a call sharing program in place or not. We work collaboratively with these agencies,” said Cote.
“We’ll start a trooper in that direction but one of the first phone calls we make is to local sheriff departments to see if they have someone closer. We know the priority is getting services to these citizens in rural areas,” he said.
On Wednesday county sheriff departments and Maine State Police are having a meeting to discuss plans.
“I think the other important piece of this is finding something that we feel is the most beneficial to the people that live in this county,” Crabtree said.