I was surprised and disappointed by your recent article entitled, “Sheriffs Dept. questions Raymond policing venture.” It appeared to take something that has been very positive in our community and highlighted only the negative aspects.

I have been working with a group of approximately 40 Big Sebago property owners, boaters and other stakeholders for about two years to try and increase law enforcement on the lake. Part of the mission of our water safety group states: “Our goal is to create a safer and quieter environment on Sebago Lake.” In our efforts we have reached out to all levels of law enforcement that could possibly impact the situation. All have been courteous and helpful to our group, and have made positive comments about what we are trying to accomplish. At the same time, none has been able to actually increase its monitoring or enforcement activities due to budgetary and manpower limitations. None until now.

We have been extremely proud of the public-private partnership that has made the existence of the Raymond/Frye Island Public Safety Boat patrol a reality. The boat was acquired at salvage for a fraction of its value. Thanks to contributions from Sabre Yachts, Sebago Signworks and donations from many Sebago Lake residents the boat is now operational. In an unusually creative and responsive attempt to address citizen concerns while holding the line on town budgets, Raymond’s town manager and fire chief have worked with their Frye Island counterparts to piece together the very arrangement that your article disparaged. These town officials who have worked so hard to address our concerns must now be thinking of the old adage, “No good deed goes unpunished”!

I do not dispute that some of the concerns raised are valid, but I do dispute the fact that you chose to base the title and entire tone of your article on these concerns, all of which are being addressed. With all due respect to the Cumberland County officers you interviewed, some of the quotes you published appear to portray the Frye Island police officers as “Mayberry RFD.” This is not fair and certainly not true! Although the subject of more training for the officers is valid, we citizens are much happier seeing a credentialed officer patrolling Raymond Cape and the waters between Frye Island and Raymond Cape than no one at all, which is pretty much what we have had in the past. The only time we would be likely to see a sheriff’s department officer would be after a crime or accident, while the new arrangement with Frye Island offers the advantage of deterrence of reckless and criminal conduct.

To those town officials whose decisions and even competence were questioned by your article I say, “Thank you and keep up the great work. I hope you realize that many people appreciate your efforts and that you do not let this one negative newspaper article discourage you in any way”.

John Manoush

Sebago Water Safety Watch

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