FARMINGTON, Maine — Andre Charland of the Quebec Provincial Police had a firsthand look at how policing is done in Maine while patrolling with Franklin County deputies last week.
Charland, who is part of an officer exchange program with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, also toured the jail, went to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy and practiced at the shooting range.
On Wednesday night, he was on patrol with Cpl. Nate Bean and his police dog, Diesel, county Lt. Niles Yeaton said Thursday.
Charland was getting ready to make the two-hour trip back to Canada on Thursday afternoon. Before he went, Sheriff Dennis Pike read a certificate appointing Charland of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, an honorary sheriff deputy.
The idea of the exchange is for Quebec police to know how the sheriff’s department and U.S. law enforcement agencies work and for deputies to learn about law enforcement in Canada.
Canada, Maine and U.S. agencies already work together on border issues.
“The overall goal is to discuss and learn best practices of law enforcement for each agency,” Yeaton said previously. “There may be some things that we may do better, and there may be some things they do better. Basically it is a learning tool.”
Charland has served seven years with the Quebec Provincial Police and another four to six months as a municipal police officer near Montreal, Charland said.
The majority of the laws in Maine are similar to laws in Canada with some differences in the level of charges related to medicinal marijuana, he said.
Traffic laws are similar with one exception.
“In Quebec we cannot drive while talking on a cellphone,” Charland said.
There is also no police dog in every county. There are a couple in Montreal and other places.
Another difference between the two departments is that provincial police ride alone in a cruiser during the day and two officers ride together at night, he said.
Charland said he wanted to be a police officer to serve and protect, like his father has done for 35 years.
“I always wanted to become a police officer,” he said.
Candidates in Canada have to have three years of college and serve 15 weeks at the criminal justice academy. To become a provincial police officer, which is similar to the Maine State Police, they have to attend an additional 15 weeks.
One of the items that impressed him the most, he said, was that deputies get to bring their cruisers and weapons home with them. Quebec police can’t.