FARMINGTON – Following the recent events in Lewiston, Police Chief Ken Charles spoke to the Farmington select board about new measures the department is taking. He reported that the Farmington police have brought in experts to conduct training to develop their officers ability to effectively respond to an active shooter threat.
“We want to be prepared. If we’re prepared, maybe it mitigates some of the challenges of actually responding to an event like that,” Chief Charles said. “Wishful thinking doesn’t get you out of a problem.”
As a result of the tragedy in Lewiston, the police department has made some unplanned purchases, including weapon mounted lights. “I want to make sure that the officers have the equipment that they need to take care of themselves,” Chief Charles said, explaining that this will enable the officers to protect the community.
Selectperson Dennis O’Neil voiced his support of training, comparing it to purchasing insurance to prevent against the unthinkable: “I have no problem buying insurance in terms of training in order to support the department.”
Chief Charles also asked the board to authorize the acceptance of a Homeland Security Grant for the purchase of a LiveScan Fingerprinting Machine. The $21,410 grant is through the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency. The system immediately uploads fingerprints into a database, which is much more efficient than the older system, Chief Charles explained. He told the board that the machine will cost $2,800 yearly to maintain in the future; the cost of the first year is included in the grant. Farmington will be splitting the future costs with the Wilton Police Department, with whom they are in collaboration with on the grant. Wilton officers will come to Farmington to use the machine.
In other business, Phil Hutchins, Public Works Director, spoke to the board, providing updates on road conditions and ongoing projects.
“High Street is 99.8% complete, after 3 years,” Hutchins announced. The issue of the raised crosswalk by the University of Maine Farmington campus was raised. Hutchins ultimately said that if people are driving the speed limit, it should be fine. He also gave updates on road repairs from storm damages, reflecting on the “tough season” it has been.
This meeting was recorded by Mt. Blue TV and is available for viewing online at MtBlueTV.org