Wiscasset police and school officials are cracking down on school zone traffic violations following complaints from residents.

I know our police are doing what they can, but we need to do something before someone gets hurt,” Wiscasset parent Darrell Bryer wrote in a Facebook post in which he raised concerns about drivers speeding in all three of the town’s school zones. 

Wiscasset Police Chief Larry Hesseltine said that since the start of the year, officers have stopped 22 vehicles for speeding in school zones during morning hours and 16 vehicles during afternoon hours. Of the 38 vehicles pulled over, police gave citations to four drivers.

Outside of the 38 stops, the police have responded to 103 calls regarding speeding since January, Hesseltine said.

Hesseltine said the school department purchased and placed flashing yellow lights in both Wiscasset Middle and High School school zones on Gardiner Road.

“These lights have proven to be a huge deterrent for speeding vehicles,” he said.


Bryer said he would like to see orange flags placed on speed limit signs and larger print used. “I don’t think the flashing signs will make that big a difference,” he said.

Wiscasset residents voted against hiring a school resource officer for its 2021-2022 school year.

The school resource officer is typically stationed in one or both school zones during different peak hours of the day, along with a police officer. This is the first time Wiscasset schools have been without a resource officer since Hesseltine became chief in 2018, he said.

Hesseltine stressed that student safety is a priority, but without a resource officer monitoring the school zones, it’s proven difficult because “I cannot always be present during those times if I’m answering other calls,” he said.

With only four full-time officers and one officer away at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, Hesseltine patrols the school zones himself in the morning from 7-8 a.m. and in the afternoon from 2:15-3:15 p.m.

Since January, the police department has responded to 1,183 calls for service, performed 53 arrests, and given 20 citations throughout the town of Wiscasset. It is a slow time of year, and those calls will pick up during the summer months, said Hesseltine.


The school resource officer position will return to the ballot in June.

“I would encourage voters who want this position to get out and vote this year,” Hesseltine said.

The school department will install new school zone lighting and signage to use on Federal Street for Wiscasset Elementary School, he said.

Wiscasset Schools Maintenance and Transportation Director John Merry said the new signs were granted by the Maine Department of Transportation and that the Wiscasset school district is responsible for the cost of the sign installation.

Hesseltine said the project will be sent out to bid by the Department of Transportation this spring.

“The DOT will be installing LED light 25 mph speed limit signs on both ends of Bath Road coming into Wiscasset and on Federal Street entering the 25-mph speed zone. Along with these new signs there will be red painted squares in the roadway indicating the 25-mph speed limit, said Hesseltine.

Hesseltine said, “Wiscasset Police just obtained an $1,800 grant for printers for the cruisers that will allow officers to issue traffic tickets through the e-citation program.” This will reduce the time officers spend roadside handling traffic violations and more time performing traffic enforcement, he said.

The police department hasn’t received complaints directly in recent months, but Hesseltine has personally seen three or four complaints on social media over the past two months, he said.

He encourages the public to call and report concerns using the non-emergency number, (207) 882-8202.

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