Calais police, sheriff’s deputies to offer backup in emergencies

Posted Jan. 30, 2009, at 8:27 p.m.

CALAIS, Maine — The Washington County Sheriff’s Department and the Calais Police Department on Friday entered into an agreement for the first time in recent history to back each other up in the event of an emergency.

Sheriff Donnie Smith and Chief David Randall signed the memorandum of understanding at Randall’s office on North Street.

Randall last week signed a similar agreement with the Baileyville Police Department.

In addition to backing each other up, the two departments also plan to share training expenses to help the city and the county save money.

“I think it is important to have these MOUs,” the sheriff said. “I think it is pretty difficult in these times to go to the council or county commissioners to say I need more funding when you’re not utilizing all of your assets at your disposal,” Smith said.

Smith said he looked forward to signing similar agreements with other Washington County agencies.

The agreement “is going to [involve] a lot of in-house specialized stuff that the Sheriff’s Department has that we don’t,” Randall said.

He said the county’s jail administrator has offered to have one of his employees train Calais dispatchers about the county’s corrections department. He said the Sheriff’s Department’s two firearms instructors also would help the department. “They could set up some scenarios that would help my officers train,” Randall said.

After the retirement of its dog Major, the Police Department soon will have a new dog on duty trained in tracking.

“If we need drug searches done we will be calling them to help us out,” Randall said. “If they need our tracking dog they will be calling us. Sharing resources instead of two departments having the exact same thing makes sense to me. Why not split the cost amongst us?”

Smith agreed.

“What you have to gain here: Each agency understands the other agency and what it has to offer,” Smith said.

bdncalais@verizon.net

454-8228

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