2016-12-22 / News

Saco updates deputies agreement for PD

By Anthony Aloisio
Staff Writer

SACO – The city council has unanimously approved an updated “Memorandum of Understanding” between the city and the York County Sheriff’s Office that will continue to allow Saco police officers to work and to use powers of arrest beyond Saco. The vote happened at the Monday, Dec. 19 meeting.

“It gives our officers police powers throughout York County,” said Deputy Chief Raynald Demers. “Let’s say that the detectives are doing an investigation that takes them outside the boundaries of Saco. in York County they have the same powers of arrest and enforcement as a York County sheriff does.”

Demers will take over as chief of the police department on Jan. 1 when current Chief Bradley Paul retires.

Demers added that this agreement is separate from other Maine laws, called “fresh pursuit” laws, which allow police officers to cross municipal boundaries when they are in active pursuit of a person, regardless of their status with the county.

According to the agreement, Maine’s laws explicitly allow county sheriff’s offices to grant this deputy authority to municipal police officers. It requires the municipality to consent to the agreement, as Saco has done.

The function of the agreement goes beyond isolated investigations, according to Demers. It also enables county-wide law enforcement programs that utilize officers from various municipalities. The council packet referred to these as “multijurisdictional enforcement teams.”

The primary example, according to Demers, is OUI (operating under influence) programs.

“There are some details that we could do that, maybe we could put two officers on it,” Demers said. “But by using A.R.I.D.E. (Advance Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement), or E.U.D.L. (Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws), we could have 10 officers from different municipalities here in Saco. It just helps to supplement the resources.”

Demers said that most of the other municipalities in York County have already approved the agreement. If a municipality chose not to approve the agreement, it would mean difficulty for law enforcement there.

“It would make it tougher for their agencies,” Demers said. “Let’s say we have a case that takes us to Limington. We’d have to get a detective from York county to go to Limington with us because Limington doesn’t have a police department.”

Part of the agreement approved was to fix a “discrepancy” in the state law, according to the council packet. Demers said that that discrepancy was not foundational to the function of agencies’ deputy powers in the county.

“It had to do with indemnification, from county to Saco,” Demers said.

Contact Staff Writer Anthony Aloisio at news@inthecourier.com.

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