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Francestown

Police asking for six more patrol hours

FRANCESTOWN — Police are asking for six additional hours of patrol time as part of next year’s budget to help deter what police are saying is a noticeable increase in criminal activity during certain weekday hours.

An additional six-hour shift for an entire year would cost the town around $5,000, Bell said in an interview Wednesday.

Several department heads spoke at the Select Board meeting Monday about their budget needs for next year, including Police Chief Stephen Bell, who said he would like to add another shift of six hours on week nights to fill in the gaps between other shifts. Bell said he has seen an increase in activity during these times, including speeding, criminal mischief, suspicious vehicles, and, as he put it, “just kids being where they’re not supposed to be.”

It’s known by the younger population in town that there are no police officers on the road during certain times of the night, Bell said. “Visibility is huge with the deterrence of stuff,” Bell said.

He also mentioned that he already has someone in mind to join the Police Department. Bell has already begun discussions with Town Administrator Michael Branley about this candidate. Bell said the candidate will begin participating in ride-alongs with the chief in the near future. The candidate still needs to go to a police academy, and would not be ready to join the department until next summer.

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

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