Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett received approval for two budgeted new 2020 Dodge Durango SUVs during the Sept. 15 county commissioners’ meeting. Newcastle Chrysler was the low bidder in June for both cruisers, at $28,589 each. The sheriff’s department is also looking for another vehicle. Brackett was involved in a two-vehicle Aug. 28 accident in Newcastle near Mike’s Place. Brackett said he was “rear-ended” while stopped on U.S. Route 1.
The county vehicle was totaled. Comissioners unanimously accepted a $20,291 insurance payment. Brackett expects another $1,200 payment to cover blue lights and sirens. Commissioners authorized the sheriff to seek bids for a replacement vehicle.
The sheriff’s department also has a new patrol dog. Briscoe, a year-old German shepherd, is on the way to Wiscasset. Commissioners approved a $7,900 purchase order for the new K-9. Briscoe was born in the Czech Republic like his predecessor Duke, who retired Aug. 1 after seven years on the job. The department bought Briscoe from Connecticut K-9 Services. Deputy Jonathan Colby will be the dog’s handler.
“I’m not sure the name ‘Briscoe’ is going to survive. Jonathan is a University of Maine graduate so I’m thinking the new name will be Bear,” Brackett said. Commissioners will use Heidi Fund contributions to pay for the new dog. The Heidi Fund is financed by private contributions for the department’s patrol dog program.
Commissioners also approved conditionally hiring former Two Bridges Regional Jail employee Michael Moody, 21, of Augusta as a new deputy. The sheriff’s department is still awaiting Moody’s background check prior to full approval. Brackett reported two deputy jobs remain vacant. One is for Lincoln County's school resource officer. An internal search didn’t provide a candidate so Brackett sought and received commissioners’ approval to advertise for the job.
In other action, County Emergency Management Agency Director Casey Stevens updated commissioners on a new task force responding to active threats. The recently assembled task force has 30 members and completed one training session with a second scheduled for Sept. 19. “Emergency management’s role is supporting the team and developing resources through grants and supplying equipment,” Stevens said.
Commissioners authorized two purchases for the rescue task force. An $11,089.68 purchase order was approved for medical equipment. The equipment will be placed in 32 bags. EMA will place two bags in each of Lincoln County’s ambulances with four serving as spares. Commissioners approved $3,840 for purchasing the medical bags. Stevens reported a Homeland Security grant would pay for both purchases.
Stevens also received authorization for buying equipment, maintaining and installing an AM Radio tower. The project was stalled this spring after COVID-19 hit. Stevens reported the radio tower would be reconstructed on Hunt Hill in Newcastle. Commissioners approved buying an antenna and mounting equipment for $3,397.50. Stevens described the property as “way off the grid”and formerly powered by a windmill. The tower will be powered by new solar panels. Stevens told commissioners he will seek authorization later for installing solar power, a generator and batteries.
Commissioners authorized $2,870 for tower maintenance and antenna installation. Another AM Radio project component is an equipment storage building. Commissioners tabled purchasing a new building after County Administrator Carrie Kipfer reported the previous plan for moving a Boothbay Harbor storage building wasn’t economical. “The moving and repair costs made us realize buying a new one was more economical,” she said.
Commissioners meet next at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6 in the Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission building.