By Diana Bowley, Of the NEWS Staff - DEXTER - A rash of vandalism to town property in recent months has caused town officials to look into a community-policing program.The inappropriate use of all-terrain vehicles on town ways and vandalism to cemeteries has plagued the town, the Town Council was told Thursday.
Town Manager Robert Simpson said he had discussed the vandalism with local police and a representative of the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, who suggested that the town might want to organize community policing.
Community policing is said to further connections between local officers and their community while increasing local awareness and support of policing efforts.
Simpson said Friday he plans to invite officials from the Penobscot Sheriff's Department, Maine State Police and local police to meet with residents and town officials to discuss ways to curtail the vandalism. Such a meeting, he said, would help residents understand the limitations of law enforcement. Everyone wants laws enforced, Simpson said, but loopholes created by the Legislature make it difficult for police to enforce certain laws.
Money is needed to eliminate problems, Simpson said. The town receives no proceeds from traffic tickets for speeding, yet officers spend time enforcing these laws, Simpson said.
In other business Thursday, the council voted down a proposal to reduce the speed limit on a portion of High Street.
Dr. Challa Reddy, who plans to move his practice to High Street sought to have the 25-mph limit reduced to 15 mph from the intersections of Center to Summer streets. Simpson said state Department of Transportation guidelines prevented the town from lowering the speed to less than 20 mph on town ways.
High Street residents Janice and Gilbert Reynolds suggested that if the town were to make the speed limit change, it should be for the entire street.
Simpson said all of the town ways have a 25-mph speed limit. Installing speed-limit signs would help, he said, but such a move would cost several thousand dollars, money the town does not have.
The move to reduce the speed limit to 20 mph failed to garner the necessary votes.
The council also awarded Barrett Paving the contract to pave 300 feet of the 600-foot taxiway extension at the airport.
Eighty percent of the $7,134 cost will be funded by the state.
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