LINCOLN, Maine — Town Manager Lisa Goodwin and interim Police Chief Phil Dawson will meet with police union members this week to discuss how to stem loitering in a downtown lot where a Tennessee truck driver was found dying on Aug. 20, she said.
Goodwin will meet with union shop steward Richard York, a patrol officer, and Sgt. Kevin Giberson, the Police Department’s ranking officer, to work out a schedule that will allow the department to be more responsive to problems at Veterans Memorial Square and a recent spate of burglaries downtown, she said.
“Chief Dawson felt it is important to note that our officers are working to confront the various issues while at the same time handling other complaints as they are called in,” Goodwin said in her Weekly News on Friday. “With one to two officers working at any given time they are limited in their effectiveness.
“It is also very important to note that no matter how many officers are working they can only be in one place at one time. There are over 5,200 residents in Lincoln who could make a significant difference by reporting actual or suspicious criminal and traffic activity,” she said.
The death of Brian Isdell, 55, and reports of a violent confrontation he had with two town teens, Justin Pete and Steve Osnoe, just before his death led local and state police to seal off the entire Mechanic and Lake streets block for most of that morning as they investigated.
An autopsy conducted Aug. 21 showed that Isdell died of natural causes brought on by heart disease.
The state medical examiner’s ruling precludes homicide charges, but police will meet at the Penobscot County district attorney’s office in Bangor this week to see whether lesser charges should be applied.
Police would not specify the possible charges, but the teens said they promised to help Isdell buy marijuana and that Pete fought with him after they had taken a carton of cigarettes from his truck. They also took the trucker’s cell phone.
Goodwin said she has heard many residents call for police enforcement of a curfew, but that would not do much to deter the problem. The town’s 10 p.m. curfew, for children under age 16, would not apply to many of the loiterers, who are older, she said.
The curfew allows violators to be held for only six hours, and an officer would have to stay with the youth for that long — with the possibility of incurring a lot of overtime costs — or until the youth’s parents came, she said.
“The result is that the town does not recoup the cost of an officer who has to baby-sit the teenager, and the teenager is released back on to the streets of Lincoln,” Goodwin said. “The officers have also told me that these curfew violations are generally not prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office, and if they are, most likely the judge does not rule in favor of the town. Picking these teenagers up on a regular basis could become very expensive to the taxpayers in overtime costs.”