Friday December 28, 2012

DUMMERSTON -- If Selectboard members have their way, there may be more police patrols on Dummerston's back roads.

After Cpl. Dana Shepard of the Windham County Sheriff's Department delivered an update on enforcement activities in Dummerston, board Chairman Lewis White said nearly all patrols seem to be on the town's main roads.

He pointed to the department's efforts on Route 5 and Route 30 along with East-West, Schoolhouse and Middle roads.

"We've got a lot of other roads in town," White said, adding that "the concern is, the sheriff (not having) enough visibility."

Shepard said some back roads don't lend themselves to speed enforcement because there are few safe and effective locations to park a cruiser.

"Some roads, we want to go down there, but there's no place to (park)," he said.

However, Shepard noted that there are ways to get around that complication. For instance, in some cases, a deputy parks nearby and walks to the roadside to monitor drivers.

And the sheriff's department has been responsive to some recent town concerns, such as additional patrols along Quarry Road last summer during covered-bridge construction.

Shepard encouraged the board to provide more input on possible patrol areas.

"We don't mind suggestions at all," he said.

The sheriff's department also was part of the Selectboard's ongoing budget deliberations at a Wednesday meeting.

The town's current contract with the department stands at $9,600.


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Board members have discussed the possibility of raising that amount to buy additional coverage.

But there was no clear support for a significant increase among the four members present at Wednesday's session. For now, the proposed sheriff's allocation for next fiscal year remains at $9,600.

Rather than adding expenses, "I'm looking for ways to cut the budget right now," board member Zeke Goodband said.

That's because expenses included in a draft of Dummerston's fiscal 2014 budget are about 5 percent higher than this year's. The board will continue to work on the spending plan in the coming weeks, but Selectboard member Tom Bodett also said that increase was within the range he had expected.

"I don't see anything in this budget that is not needed," Bodett said.

Mike Faher can be reached at mfaher@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.