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Pickett, Howe granted statewide arrest authority
DIXFIELD- Last month, Police Chief Richard Pickett proposed to the board of selectmen that he and his second in command, Sgt. Howe, be granted statewide arrest authority.
“I have been involved with the county task force and it’s become the norm that individual towns have statewide arrest authority,” noted Chief Pickett. “In fact, Sheriff Gallant is the one that recommended I seek it out.”
Chief Pickett stated that Rumford, Mexico, Jay and Livermore Falls all have the authority and it would be beneficial to Dixfield to have it as well.
As it currently stands, if Dixfield comes upon a crash scene or operator under the influence out of town, they have to wait for state, county, or town police to arrive, or they have to call in to dispatch and gain supervisory permission to attend the scene or make an arrest.
Granting them the authority brings them in line with state statute that gives towns the option to approve their officers to have statewide arrest authority.
Currently, there are investigations within Dixfield that are leading outside town limits. Chief Pickett stated, “especially in cases of investigation, the extended arrest authority would give us that double insurance policy that we need.”
Selectman Belskis expressed his concern of what it was going to cost the town in the long run if an investigation went to court and required more of the officer’s time.
Following much discussion and clarification, selectmen Daley motioned to approve the request. The vote to approve was unanimous.
“I just want to make sure that this is a good move for the town,” stated Chairman Gill. “Mutual aid is our insurance policy that someone else is going to have our back when we need it. If we can do our part to ensure that we’ll be there for other towns, I’m on board.”