GREENBUSH, Maine — Home burglaries have been an issue for the town of Greenbush over the last few months, according to Town Manager Jerry Davis.
Thanks to an agreement between the town and the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office, this small community of 1,421 will have a larger police presence. A law enforcement contract between the town and the sheriff’s office will take effect on Sunday, Deputy Chief Troy Morton said Friday morning.
Davis said the measure was voted on at a special town meeting on Nov. 15, and town officials and residents unanimously approved the measure. The contract will cost the town approximately $20,200 this year, but Davis said it’ll be worth it.
“It’s been an increasing problem with break-ins,” Davis explained. “In the past it’s just been stealing and things like that, but now we’re having home break-ins on a steady basis. We wanted to add some extra coverage to cut that down.”
The funds paid by the town of Greenbush will be provided to Penobscot County to cover the cost of the direct enforcement, according to Morton.
The chief deputy said the sheriff’s office will provide three to four shifts every other week that will have a deputy patrol Greenbush for 4 to 6 hours per day.
“This isn’t driven by any one incident,” said Morton. “This is something the town has talked to us to for some time.”
One serious incident included a September home invasion in which Ryan Petrin, 21, of Grindstone and Nicholas Hutchinson, 23, of Medway were accused of breaking into a house and assaulting a woman and one of her two children. Petrin is facing charges of robbery and criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon while Hutchinson is accused of robbery.
Given the rural nature of the town, Morton said the new measure will allow sheriff’s deputies to respond to incidents quickly.
“This coverage allows us to assign somebody there for four to six hours and focus on any issues the town may see,” he said. “Its goal is to provide additional visibility in a rural town. It allows us to address specific issues the town may have.”
Davis said his town and the sheriff’s office have always had a strong relationship.
“Troy has been great,” Davis said. “He came here and talked to the selectmen and explained everything and it just moved forward from there.”
Davis said surrounding towns such as Milford, Enfield and Howland have similar contracts with the sheriff’s office, which makes sense from a financial standpoint.
“It’s beneficial to the town, instead of buying or paying for a full police department,” said Morton.
Davis said if things go well over the course of the year, the town may consider adding a second patrol shift.