GOULDSBORO — Gouldsboro Police now have an alternative workspace in case the threat of coronavirus exposure ever shuts down the town office again.
The Gouldsboro Fire Department’s South Gouldsboro station has been slightly modified, making it available for use by Police Chief John Shively and Officers Adam Brackett and Eli Brown. They can now use the heated station’s meeting room to write up reports, do required paperwork, conduct phone interviews and perform other tasks instead of doing those things hunched over laptops in their cruisers.
Last November, the Gouldsboro municipal building, which also houses the police and fire departments, closed twice in response to an employee’s potential COVID-19 exposure. The abrupt closures exposed the need for Gouldsboro law enforcement to have a virus-free place to use as their base and allow them to go about their job as emergency responders policing the town. Off Route 186, Station 2 was suggested as an underused, suitable facility.
Shively says he and his officers will continue to operate out of the town office in Prospect Harbor. But the South Gouldsboro satellite office is ready to be used should the need arise.
“It’s not permanent. It’s temporary while the COVID-19 pandemic is going on,” Shively said Monday. “I feel very fortunate to have a place where we can work and not risk exposure.”
First responders are at greater risk of contracting the virus given the nature of their jobs interacting daily with the public at large. Station 2’s meeting room gives Gouldsboro’s police officers a degree of separation. Additional security measures there have included reinforcing doors with galvanized steel webbing and installing keypad locks.
Late last year, the Board of Selectmen authorized Shively to find an alternative site. The chief estimated that the modifications would cost $1,500, but they wound up totaling $795. “We are well under budget,” he said.
Shively says Station 2 lacks Wi-Fi, but he and his officers have cellular hot spots that can be used there.
In other police-related news, Gouldsboro Police have acquired a 2021 Dodge Ram truck to use for patrol. Shively’s 2016 Ford Explorer SUV will be used as a back-up vehicle and the department’s 2018 Ford Explorer is shared by Officers Brackett and Brown. He said the Dodge Ram cost $32,100 and is classified as a special services vehicle, but not designed for high-speed pursuits.
In patrolling the town, Shively has found his department needs more rugged vehicles for traveling rural roads often in poor weather conditions. He said the long-term plan is switch all the fleet’s vehicles to trucks.
“A lot of what we do is going down to the shore and checking on camps and less on high-pursuit driving,” he explained.
Shively said the next step will be for Brown Communications Inc. to equip the gun-metal gray Dodge Ram with the electronics expected to cost between $6,000 and $10,000.