State officials meet with county commissioners and sheriffs to discuss call sharing agreements

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Two important meetings took place Wednesday regarding call sharing between Maine State Police and counties.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck and Maine State Police Colonel John Cote met with Maine county commissioners and sheriffs.

At the Maine County Commissioners Association meeting, some commissioners expressed concern with State Police's plan to reduce call share agreements with eight counties.

But overall, folks were pleased with how the conversation went.

"We had a really good back and forth," said Tom Coward, Kennebec County Commissioner and President of the Maine County Commissioners Association. "I think it was a very frank conversation. And I think we're coming away with it with some ideas about where we can move forward on this topic together."

"That's what this is all about," said Sauschuck. "That conversation is continuing as we all try to figure out what that next evolution is going to look like."

After the County Commissioners meeting, Cote and Sauschuck met with the Maine Sheriffs Association.

Similar concerns were aired, but folks seemed optimistic about being able to make progress on new agreements.

"We can't cookie-cutter a policy," said Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton. "Too often what happens at state government is that we're going to try one thing and we're going to make that fit in the entire state. That doesn't work. There are different counties that are different sizes."

Officials want to emphasize this has no effect on serving and protecting Maine communities.

"This is really not a battle over who's doing what," said Morton. "The truth is when somebody needs an officer, we're going to respond."

"For us, it is all about public safety," said Sauschuck. "That's why we're in this work. We are here to help people, and we are here to make them safe. The line folks are working together in a seamless manner, that's always going to continue."