TREMONT — Law enforcement coverage may increase in Tremont by 15 hours a week in response to what some see as more criminal activity in town.
“It seems as though we’ve had an increase in crime,” said Selectman Mike Mansolilli during the Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday night, mentioning residential break–ins. “People I know have had to put cameras up – not just on seasonal homes. There’s been some serious stuff going on in town and I think we should have more presence here.”
Jamie Thurlow, chairman of the board of selectmen, said he had also heard of things happening in town.
“Right now, we’re only contracted for 30 hours, not 40 hours,” he said in response to Mansolilli’s comment that 40 hours of coverage a week was not enough.
Currently, the town has a contract with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office for 30 hours a week of law enforcement coverage. That contract goes through December 2023. Selectman Kevin Buck proposed adding 15 more hours a week to the contract and the board voted unanimously in favor.
Hancock County Chief Deputy Patrick Kane attended the meeting to field questions. Thurlow asked him if there had been an excessive number of complaints made to the sheriff’s office recently.
“The home invasions (Mansolilli) spoke of, we did solve those and the person’s in custody,” Kane explained, mentioning there is something else going on that he couldn’t talk about. Violence has increased in Hancock County, Kane added, noting calls were up by 1,300 over the last year. Domestic violence and “people’s demeanor towards one another,” are some of the reasons.
Buck asked if the sheriff’s office has the personnel to provide more law enforcement coverage in Tremont, if requested.
“We are fully staffed,” said Kane. “If you were to add more hours, I’d have to add one more person to my staff… If things go as planned, this summer we’d have an additional 15-20 hours of coverage for your town.”
There was a discussion about how the extra hours would be funded and the best way to go about adding the hours to the contract. While the contract with the sheriff’s office goes from January to December of each year, the town’s fiscal year is from July to June.
“Revision of the contract makes the most sense to me,” said Town Manager Chris Saunders. “Realistically, it might coincide with the new budget year.”
Buck suggested an additional 15 hours of additional coverage to begin with and the board could assess if that was adequate at some point.
“I think that’s something that’s manageable,” said Kane, adding that most of the contracted time at this point is filled with responding to calls. “The days of having time for doing preemptive coverage have gone by the wayside.”