The town will pay $451,265.55 for general law enforcement and $277,481.06 for marine patrol this year, contracting the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office for both services.
The contract for general law enforcement involves the assignment of three full-time deputy sheriffs to Harpswell, currently George L. Bradbury, Andy Schenk and Jay Ward. The county provides the town with 20 hours of patrol per day, seven days a week.
The deputies have a substation on the second floor of the town office. The town pays for their SUVs and other equipment. The 2021-22 contract includes $45,500 to buy and outfit one new vehicle.
The contract for marine patrol assigns two full-time deputies to the town, currently Todd McGee and Steve Welsh. The marine patrol deputies work four 10-hour shifts on schedules that “change in accordance with the tides,” according to the contract.
The deputies provide low- and high-tide enforcement of the town’s shellfish rules seven days a week. In addition to enforcement, they provide assistance with conservation activities. The deputies either assist with or supervise clam flat surveys, clam seeding, efforts to limit clam predation by green crabs, and water testing.
The town provides the deputies with a boat and trucks. The 2021-22 contract includes $48,000 to buy and outfit a new truck for marine patrol.
The old SUV and truck will go back to the town, which may use them to replace aging town vehicles.
The town has long contracted the sheriff’s office to provide both general and marine patrol, separate from any services the agency might provide in the course of its day-to-day policing of Cumberland County’s three cities and 25 towns. “We would get an occasional deputy that might come to Harpswell with our tax assessment to the county,” Town Administrator Kristi K. Eiane said, but the contracts give the town a dedicated force.
The contracts run from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2022. The board of selectmen approved the contracts, retroactive to April 1, on July 8.
The board usually approves the contracts after annual town meeting in March, but Harpswell held its annual town meeting by referendum in June this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Selectman Jane Covey said she would like the county to consider electric vehicles in the future.
Eiane said the town has relayed that message. “We have said, ‘If you want us to be your model community, we’re interested in doing that,’” Eiane said.