Duke retires after 7 years in sheriff’s department

Tue, 07/21/2020 - 3:30pm

For seven years, Duke, a patrol and drug search dog, has taken a bite out of crime in Lincoln County. But those days are numbered. The 8-year-old German Shepherd is struggling with spinal and bone structure problems and will retire Aug. 1. Sheriff Todd Brackett honored Duke and his handler Lt. Kevin Dennison for the second time for exceptional duty during the July 21 county commissioners meeting. “As a team they have an outstanding reputation and success rate. They have seven years of devoted service and never waivered in apprehending criminals or returning a loved one,” Brackett said.

Commissioners voted unanimously to transfer Duke’s care to Dennison upon the canine’s retirement. In other action, commissioners approved a consultant’s contract between the sheriff’s department’s Alternate Sentencing Program and Karen Clark. The contract calls for four $750 monthly payments to Clark who will serve as a consultant during the department’s seven-day program in October.

Commissioners approved two purchase orders at Brackett’s request. The board approved buying a new $22,665 electronic road sign with federal COVID-19 funds. This brings the sheriff’s department’s number of signs to four.  Brackett reported the signs are placed around Lincoln County with COVID-19 and other public safety messages. Commissioners also approved spending $5,349.85 from a federal grant for evidence collecting equipment. Brackett reported the purchase included equipment for collecting fingerprints, DNA, and footprints data.

Commissioners renewed the sheriff’s animal control officer agreement with Damariscotta for another year, and Brackett’s request to pay on-call animal control officers a $1 per hour. The sheriff estimated annual cost would range from $4,200 to $5,000. “I want to build an incentive for them to be available for times when no one is scheduled,” he said.

The county received three bids for a five-year auditing contract. Berry, Talbot and Royer of Portland audited the county finances for the past three years. BTR was the low bidder at $39,000 for five years, and commissioners unanimously accepted the bid.

Emergency Management Agency Director Casey Stevens received approval to apply for two grants. Stevens is seeking a federal Homeland Security Grant for $83,419.93. If successful, Stevens reported the agency would use funds for the county’s Hazmat, search and rescue, amateur radio and rescue task force teams. The second is an annual Emergency Management Performance Grant for $113,777.

Commissioners also authorized buying an electronic sign for Lincoln Country Regional Planning Commission. The board accepted Northern Signs’ $20,975 bid for a 16.5 foot by 5.5 foot sign. A new sign isn’t the only change at the LCRPC building. Commissioners authorized buying a $4,832 heat pump from Midcoast Energy in Damariscotta. Commissioners went into executive session to discuss real property. Commissioners meet next at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4 in the LCRPC building.