MOUNT DESERT — As far as the FBI is concerned, no crimes are ever committed in the town of Mount Desert anymore.
That is because the crime records of the Mount Desert and Bar Harbor police departments are now combined, and the report that goes to the FBI each month is submitted by Bar Harbor.
“Before, if I was a police officer doing something in Somesville, I would have to log in with my Mount Desert credentials,” said Mount Desert and Bar Harbor Police Chief Jim Willis. “Then, if I was the same officer on a call in Town Hill, I would have to log out of Mount Desert and log in to Bar Harbor.
“We did that for a while. But along the way we’ve centralized our records management and started using one operating system. It was done to simplify all of our record keeping internally.
“Once we did that,” Willis said, “we had to merge other systems that are dependent on the same identifiers. So, in our virtual world, we operate under one identity, and that is the Bar Harbor Police Department.”
Willis said Bar Harbor was selected as the reporting agency “for no particular reason.” However, although neither town has much serious crime, Bar Harbor typically experiences more than Mount Desert.
Cities and towns across the country are supposed to submit monthly crime reports to the Uniform Crime Reporting program, which is administered by the FBI.
“We don’t report on everything we do, just certain crimes, from serious crimes such as murder and rape down to things like theft,” Willis said.
Before Mount Desert officials and residents start bragging about their zero crime rate, they should know that there are still records of crimes committed in their town; they just aren’t reported separately to the FBI.
“We can easily break it down in-house for people over the phone,” Willis said. “I’ve never had anybody call me about it, but Realtors are sometimes interested in things like that.”
And in the police logs, which the Islander uses to compile the Island Police column each week, crimes and other incidents that the police respond to are broken down by town.