Tuesday, January 6, 2015

WHERE IS THE TREAT/WHAT IS THE TREAT??? by Larry Fillmore

During the last Town Council workshop, I listened to Councilor Mark Lunt ask Chief Brooks the same question he asked last year during budget season.  Why do we need two police vehicles parked at the two schools?  Jessica Maloy, Finance Director, answered the question last year by stating they are there in case of an emergency.  This year Chief Brooks answered that these vehicles are parked in front of the two schools as a deterrent.   So in order to be a deterrent there has to be a threat, so what is the threat?

Last year, the taxpayers paid $53,292.00 for two police vehicles.  The police department has nine (9) vehicles in its inventory.   According to Chief Brooks, there are only one or two officers on duty at a time in a small community like Lisbon, so why do we need so many vehicles?

Lisbon is a bed-room community.  This community is small in size and only has approximately 9,000 people so why do we need one Administrative Assistant and two part-time Secretaries, and two Detectives?  Our current police force cost the taxpayers over $1.3 MILLION dollars and again where or what is the threat?

For years, I have listened to Chief Brooks manipulate crime figures and intimate  citizens into believing there is a need for the massive police force in Lisbon.   This is not Detroit and crime is not an issue in Lisbon.  It is totally ridiculous to have a police department costing over a million dollars.  There needs to be an independent desk audit of the police department.

Each year the county charges Lisbon approximately $500,000.00 tax dollars and does not provide many services.  However, the Town Council has elected to maintain the Dispatch/Communication Center at a cost of approximately $500,000.00 tax dollars.  This service is offered by the County but the Council has elected NOT to take advantage of this service.  Instead, our elected officials would rather put our lives at risk by allowing Androscoggin County Dispatch to relay all 911 calls.  Common sense will tell you if something has to be relayed; this causes a time delay.  In an emergency, time is most critical to saving lives.

The new Town Manager and the Town Council need to take a close look at the police department.  For years, all the other departments have been forced to make major cuts in their budgets and every year the police department is increased.  In order to justify a million dollars police department there has to be a threat equal to the cost.  History has shown, no threat exists that would justify paying over a million dollars for this police force.

This year major cuts need to be made in the police department budget.

Larry Fillmore