WASHBURN, Maine — Left without a police chief, the town of Washburn is turning to Ashland for police management services.
Washburn Police Chief Robert Thibeault recently resigned, completing his last day on March 21, after serving in the role since August 2017, according to Washburn Town Manager Donna Turner. Thibeault did not cite a particular reason for resigning, Turner said.
The town manager said the municipality decided to partner with Ashland to hire Ashland town manager and police chief Cyr Martin to serve as a part-time police chief for Washburn.
“We’re going to try this out with Cyr Martin and see how that goes this year and then we’ll go from there,” Turner said. “It’s going to be a trial and error type of thing.”
Under the arrangement, Martin will receive $10,000 over the course of a year for handling administration and management of Washburn’s police department. The town’s police force includes one part-time officer, three reservists and one full-time officer position that is currently open, Turner said. Washburn and Ashland already share one reserve officer, she added.
In June 2017, the town of Washburn asked residents to decide whether to keep a local police force or contract out with the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, the Maine State Police or another municipal force. Town residents voted 173 to 162 in favor of keeping their own force. In the 2019 budget, the town police department has an allocation of $185,425.
Under the arrangement with Ashland, patrol duties will continue to be done by local officers, with Martin responsible for administration and management and on-call shifts, Turner said. “If a shift needs to be covered, he’ll cover it.”
Turner added that the town’s leaders do not anticipate revisiting the issue of whether to keep a local police department.
“We don’t want to see the police department close.”