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Limestone is the latest small Maine town to disband its police department

Limestone is the latest small Maine town to disband its police department. Two years ago it was Van Buren, and law enforcement officials say other small departments are teetering on the brink of closure due to problems attracting and retaining officers. The County Sheriff's Department may have to take on added duties as a results.

Aroostook County Sheriff Shawn Gillen said absorbing Limestone's emergency calls, up to 1,500 a year, will require adding four or five new deputies to his department, even if those calls are shared with the Maine State Police.

"Right now we are barely maintaining. It will be tough for us to keep up," Gillen said. "It will increase our calls by 19%. When Van Buren closed it was a blow to us as far as call volume. I'm gonna need more deputies."

Gillen said his department is fully staffed at 16 deputies, but with some out for deployment, vacation, sick time, and training, his full roster is not on the road. And he says adding deputies at a cost of $175,000 per officer is not in the budget. Gillen said the County will now have to prioritize emergency calls and residents can expect to wait longer for assistance.