The Freeport Police Department’s new leadership team heard comments from about a dozen residents last Thursday during a Citizens on Patrol (COP) event at the Town Hall.

Six attendees at the event, hosted by Chief Susan Nourse and Lt. Nate Goodman, were members of the Wardtown Mobile Home Park Association. Dale Whitmore, association president, said that park residents all look out for each other, but are interested in the police department’s opinion on some sort of neighborhood crime watch. Deanna Coro followed up.
“What we want to know is, what are our responsibilities, and where do the police come in?” Coro asked. “We have speeding issues, noise issues, occasional partying issues.”
Nourse advised that association members can talk with people “within the confines of that park.” If that doesn’t work, she said, they should contact police.

“To start with, it would be good to have a residents’ meeting, with everybody,” Nourse said.

On another topic, Sebastian Meade said the organization’s name and acronym, COP, has negative connotations in the present political environment.

“The wording indicates something is wrong,” Meade said, “and that crime is up. People I know think (Citizens on Patrol) is scary, and that citizens have the right to be police officers.”

Nourse said that she would be happy to consider a name change.

“It wasn’t meant to suggest something’s wrong in Freeport,” she said.

Town Manager Peter Joseph suggested that people with ideas for a name could contact Nourse at [email protected].

Also offering comments was James M. Roux Jr., who was arrested last year on charges of disorderly conduct and refusing to submit to arrest during a 9/11 ceremony in town. Roux complained about his treatment both by the police and the Patriot Guard. He said he was subjected to “complete psychological torture” in a holding cell.

Nourse allowed Roux several minutes to speak, then said she wanted to move on to more general questions, and invited him to a private meeting. But not before Patti Eastman spoke her piece.

“I’ve been waiting for a long time since that ceremony,” Eastman said. “Do you know how scared you made me, and a lot of other people? You came here for the attention, the same way you interrupted that beautiful ceremony.”

Goodman, confirmed by the Town Council as lieutenant only three days earlier, had been a sergeant in the department for 12 years, and worked with Nourse since he joined the force in 1997.

Earlier in the week, Goodman, a Durham resident who grew up in Freeport, said he appreciated Nourse’s inclusiveness.

“I appreciate her candor,” said Goodman, 43. “She is very honest and forthright. She will incorporate people’s ideas into her plan. We talk constantly, and I think that comes back to the communications issue. Working together for 20 years, we have a rapport.”

As a lieutenant working behind the scenes, he and Nourse are looking to fill a department with vacancies. They must replace Andrew Durgin, the marine resource conservation officer who resigned three weeks ago. Another sergeant must be named to join John Perrino in that capacity, and there are two other vacancies on the force.

“Right now I’m overwhelmed with learning the new job,” said Goodman, who will help Nourse oversee standard operating procedures, budgets and streamlining operations. Goodman goes from his evening job as an on-duty supervisor.

“The lieutenant is an operations manager,” said Nourse, who ought to know – she held the position under retired Chief Jerry Schofield for 11 years. “My advice to him: The strengths of sergeant and lieutenant are not the same.”

Nourse and Goodman agreed that modern technology has made the job of a police officer different gtom when he became a police officer 20 years ago.

“Social media has changed things,” she said. “Things are potentially taped. We’re being filmed everywhere.”

That shouldn’t mean police officers should conduct themselves any differently, Goodman said. It’s just different.

“The court of public opinion will weigh in even before the case goes to trial,” he said. “Information is out there at light speed.”

Nate Goodman

James M. Roux Jr. complains of police brutality during a public forum with Freeport police last Thursday at the Freeport Town Hall.

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