City councilors in Bangor are set to vote on a new ordinance that could impose fees on group homes and shelter operators for making non-emergency calls to police.
Police say that in recent months they have received an increasing number of calls from shelters and group homes requesting assistance for non-emergency situations, like residents refusing to follow house rules. Bangor Police Chief Mark Hathaway says those calls are diverting resources from more pressing matters.
“We're just asking for some relief from these facilities,” Hathaway says. “They need to improve their training. They need to increase their staffing. And not rely on the police department to be part of their staffing model. That's seriously what we're trying to get at here.”
But David McCluskey, the executive director of Community Care, which operates the city's youth shelter, Shaw House, says that since police raised the issue, his organization has begun to work with authorities and staff to more carefully scrutinize their calls in an effort to reduce them.
“I feel confident that we have better systems in place, since these conversations to really address, if there is an inappropriate call, we can address that and make sure that our staff have the appropriate training and support,” McClusky says.
McCluskey says he is also concerned that if fees are charged to homeless shelters, it could be difficult to make up the funds. The Bangor City Council is set to take up the ordinance Wednesday.