Keeping pace in a growing town, the Gorham Police Department, amid multiple moves to step up service, now has a deputy chief and is looking for a volunteer chaplain to provide counseling if tragedy strikes.

Gorham Police Chief  Daniel Jones has beefed up his ranks, naming Lt. Christopher Sanborn as deputy police chief, effective July 11.

“He certainly earned it,” Jones said of Sanborn, a veteran member of the Gorham department.  “He knows the nuts and bolts of the agency and community.”

Sanborn was out of the office and  unavailable for comment Tuesday.

Adding the extra administrative post, Jones said, is designed to free up sergeants from clerical duties to increase patrol presence in the town of 51 square miles. The lieutenant’s job will be posted internally and likely filled within a month.

Gorham, with a population of about 17,000, has grown from a farming community in recent decades to the state’s 14th largest municipality. Last year, the police department responded to about 13,000 calls for service.

Jones plans to meet soon with his department brass to strategize for continued protection of the town and review training “– to see where we’re going,”  Jones said Tuesday in his office.

The department now has 23 officers, including Jones, Sanborn, four patrol sergeants, a detective sergeant, two detectives, 10 patrol officers, two school resource officers and a part-time animal control officer. Another Gorham officer has been assigned to the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency.

A Gorham sergeant likely will be promoted to lieutenant and an officer elevated to sergeant. A new officer will be hired to fill out the roster to 24. Also, for some extra muscle, the department  has applied for a grant to fund 75 percent of base wages and benefits for three years for an additional officer.

Appointed last August to succeed Ronald Shepard as the town’s police chief, Jones has reinstituted a canine unit with a dog named Sitka and Officer Nate Therriault. Sitka is riding on patrol now and should be fully certified by this fall.

Jones, an FBI academy graduate, said “there’s a problem” in town with drugs, so he has introduced a police  program aimed at saving lives of victims of overdoses of, for example, heroin. He described the procedure as a nasal treatment squeezed into a victim’s nostril.

The Attorney General’s Office provides the product, Narcan, free to departments that have a policy for administering it, Jones said. About half of his officers have completed training for the program and the rest will train Tuesday, July 19.

Also next week, Jones plans to meet with a prospective volunteer chaplain for the department. The chaplain, in the case of a fatal traffic accident, for example, could accompany a police officer to the family’s home. A chaplain also would be available to offer department counseling in the event an officer was shot and killed or an officer shot a suspect.

For efficiency in traffic details, a motorcycle could be requested in his next budget. He said a town councilor this year mentioned the possibility of procuring a motorcycle but it wasn’t budgeted.

Jones said the cost for a leased Harley Davidson and associated costs like for uniforms would run about $12,000 per year. He said a motorcycle would keep his officers engaged and motivated plus represent a fuel savings.

This fall, he hopes to have the Gorham Police Department host a citizens police academy that would educate residents with some real training in what police duties entail. Academy graduates could be recruited to join the Volunteers in Police Service that augments Gorham Police with traffic control, neighborhood patrols and property checks.

Gorham Police Chief Daniel Jones is beefing up the department to provide increased service in the community.


A closer look

Staying connected with the community is a key component in Gorham Police Chief Daniel Jones’ plans for the department. He will meet with residents from 9:30-10:30 a.m., Thursday, July 14, at Aroma Joe’s, 109 Main St., in his continuing series, “Coffee With the Chief.”

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