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Talks to combine police on hold

Discussions to combine Antrim and Bennington police departments have stalled in the months following an Antrim Select Board meeting in October, at which an exploratory committee was formed. Officials for both towns say residents should not expect any further discussion for at least the next couple of years.

Both town Select Boards agreed that the talks were not going anywhere, Antrim Select Board Chair Gordon Webber said in an interview Wednesday.

The Bennington Select Board came to the Oct. 28 Antrim Select Board meeting and brought up the idea of combining the two departments, Webber said. At the end of the discussion the boards agreed that both police chiefs and members from each board would work together as a small committee to investigate the potential benefits of joining forces.

The committee has not met since this discussion, Webber said. The Antrim Select Board did reach out to Bennington a week and a half after the meeting but Webber said the boards agreed the discussion was not developing.

Although the boards do not plan to discuss the idea further, the thought of combining departments is still a long-term possibility, said Antrim Police Chief Scott Lester.

Although Bennington Police Chief Steve Campbell said in an interview Tuesday that he is still interested in the two police departments merging, he thinks it will take a lot of work.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen in my time,” Campbell said. His plan is to retire by the summer of 2015.

“Do we need another chief if we’re going to combine forces?” Campbell said.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

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