BETHEL — A western Maine town is getting rid of its police department.

Beginning July 1, the Oxford County sheriff’s department will begin patrolling the streets of Bethel.

On Tuesday, Bethel voters opted to hire the deputies rather than rely on its own department.

Town Manager Jim Doar says it has been a challenge keeping qualified officers on the local force.

The town has one full-time and several part-time officers.

Three sheriffs deputies will be assigned to the Bethel area.

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