ALFRED, Maine – Law enforcement officers of a number of York County municipalities have taken the step of being deputized with the York County Sheriff’s Office. Now, a new agreement between York County Maine Government and participating municipalities clarifies procedures, responsibilities, and liabilities.
Deputization of municipal police officers has been ongoing for some time. It is separate and distinct from mutual aid agreements between agencies that send officers to respond to emergencies in neighboring communities.
York County Sheriff William L. King said municipal officers tend to be deputized for specific purposes –such as members of the special services team, for dedicated traffic details, or other special details.
The agreement spells out that officers to be deputized have not been disciplined within the past five years, have met all the training requirements, and the like.
Deputizations are for three years, subject to the sheriff’s right to terminate the appointment earlier.
The municipality is the sole employer of the deputized municipal officer, according to the agreement.
The agreement requires the municipality to indemnify the county for liability, costs, and damages resulting from the municipal officer’s actions taken while on municipal business.
The four York County Commissioners present at a late December meeting – Chair Richard Dutremble, Robert Andrews, Richard Clark, and Donna Ring – unanimously approved the measure.
King, the sheriff, told commissioners that the agreement stemmed from a situation whereby a municipal officer had ventured into another community to make an arrest and spoke of being a deputy sheriff, resulting in a civil lawsuit, which was later resolved. King said the municipal law enforcement officer had been deputized for specific reasons, not general law enforcement duties.
He estimated 60 municipal law enforcement officers have been deputized.