Bangor Police considering new ways to limit non-emergency calls

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - The Bangor Police Department is looking to minimize the number of "non-emergency calls" from group homes, residential care facilities, and temporary low barrier shelters.

They are discussing putting a fee structure in place.

Bangor Police Chief Mark Hathaway told city councilors Monday night they've received more than 300 calls since January for "non-emergency situations."

He says some of the calls aren't police matters such as clients who won't put their shoes on, won't follow the house rules, or leave their facility without permission.

Hathway says they're hoping Bangor group homes, residential care facilities, and shelters get the staffing and proper training they need.

Mark Hathaway, Bangor Police Chief: "It takes a lot of time for us to deal with those calls when we should be handling issues in neighborhoods, traffic issues and things like that. We seem to find ourselves at these facilities acting as their second or third house manager or case manager on duty."

Sean Scovil, Shaw House Program Director "I could read you down the list of reasons that we called the police by day and the reason. There are significant issues happening there. Every day and the reason why we're calling the police in our estimation is because we're either seeing crimes or victimization."

The proposed fee structure would allow up to three non-emergency calls per year.

Four to eight calls, the facility would be charged $31 each time. With nine or more, the fee would be $155 per call.

Hathaway says they're really just looking for more cooperation from these facilities.

The Bangor Fire Department adopted a similar policy in 2016.