Report shows Washington County criminal activity on the rise

Posted Feb. 03, 2012, at 3:17 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — The annual report of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department shows an 11 percent increase in service calls during 2011 as compared with the previous year.

“We continue to see the direct correlation between reportable crimes and substance abuse in our county,” Sheriff Donnie Smith said in the report. “While this has placed a strain on the employees of our agency, I am proud of their performance and perseverance.

Smith said his office worked in 2011 to maintain the same level of services to Washington County communities despite a declining economy.

“In achieving this, we have diligently worked in collaborating resources and funding with many other law enforcement agencies,” he said. “The result provided several joint agency operations, including enforcement with underage drinking, OUI, ATV, speed and seat belt laws, along with numerous other enforcement details.”

The report notes that the Baileyville and Milbridge police departments were added to Washington County’s Records Management System in 2011 in an effort to streamline the process of information sharing among the county’s law enforcement agencies.

Through grants from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Northern Border Strategic Initiative, a new police dog named Stryker was acquired in 2011 to enhance narcotics detection and is now being trained. Three other new K-9 units were certified last year in tracking and searching.

“Dedication, professionalism and commitment to our communities continue to lead the employees of this agency,” Smith said in the report. “Along with these key elements our agency continues to receive enormous support and cooperation from the public in combating overall crime and making Washington County the best place to live.”

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