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Thetford police to help West Fairlee with traffic enforcement



Valley News Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

WEST FAIRLEE — Officials in the town of West Fairlee are looking to their southern neighbor for help with policing needs. And Thetford has signaled in the affirmative.

Beginning as soon as next week, the Thetford Police Department will start providing traffic enforcement in West Fairlee in two-hour stints once a week, according to a contract the towns’ selectboards signed last month.

West Fairlee had been contracting with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, but Selectboard Chairwoman Delsie Hoyt said switching to Thetford made more sense.

“It is a busy time of year for the sheriff’s department, and that’s when we need coverage the most,” said Hoyt, adding that the Thetford Police Department had more flexibility.

“I think it’s great. It works out for everybody,” Thetford Selectboard Chairman Stuart Rogers said. “They are a neighbor, and we work well with each other.”

In the summer months, when the frost heaves have settled and the potholes have been filled in, West Fairlee sees more speeders, Hoyt said. The village is busier, too, and many people come to town for summer camps on the lake and travel through to race nights in Bradford.

Under the agreement, which runs through December, Thetford police officers will enforce traffic laws at an hourly rate of $76.41, a cost that is higher than the sheriff’s department, Hoyt said.

The officers will start with one, two-hour detail a week. Because arrests and court dates could follow some traffic stops, Thetford will let West Fairlee officials know when they have reached 100 hours of service, according to the contract.

West Fairlee budgeted about $10,000 for policing services this year and has about $8,000 left to spend, Hoyt said.

Hoyt and Rogers, who talk on a regular basis, first floated the idea of an inter-municipal police services contract two or three years ago, Hoyt said.

The Thetford Police Department has a staff of three full-time officers, so it can accommodate the extra shifts in West Fairlee, Thetford Police Chief Michael Evans said.

The collaboration affords Thetford officers the ability to get a little extra in their paycheck each week and West Fairlee residents a police presence “for a small outlay of money,” Evans said.

Evans initially said he had concerns that Thetford taxpayers could be burdened by the partnership, but after vetting the idea, he said his concerns were alleviated.

Thetford police will use their cruisers during the patrols, and the per-hour figure factors in maintenance and other costs, he said.

Hoyt said Thetford police merely will be providing traffic enforcement, and that in times of an emergency, West Fairlee residents should call 911, which rings Vermont State Police.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.