Bangor Police Consider Changes to Officer Duties 

Bangor’s police chief says changes might need to be made to some of the services the department provides.During budget talks with the city, Ron Gastia told councilors eliminating some services would help officers do their jobs more effectively. Tuesday, he’s presenting those ideas to the Government Operations Committee. “The City of Bangor during the daytime swells to over 100 thousand people. Typically, I have 5 or 6 officers on patrol out there,” says Police Chief Ron Gastia. He says right now, officers are spending too much time on tasks that don’t use their time effectively– everything from taking simple complaints, to transporting stray cats when the animal control officer isn’t on duty. And, serving subpoenas. “It’s not uncommon at all for us to get over 100 subpoenas in a day that need to be served. And that means going and banging on doors whenever the officers have time,” he says. “Sometimes they’re there and sometimes they’re not and we have to go back again, again and again, and that’s valuable officer time.”Gastia has identified nearly a dozen tasks he says could be changed or eliminated, including who takes down the reports in the case of complaints of criminal mischief, thefts of property valued less than a certain amount, or in which there is no suspect.”Not that we didn’t want those crimes reported, but that we’ll find alternate ways for them to be reported,” he says.Gastia says that could mean having members of the public make reports over the telephone or online, giving officers more time for complaints that require follow-up.The Government Operations Committee will hear his ideas Tuesday night. Gastia says no changes will be made without due consideration.”I’m hoping that I’ll get some comments tonight and that in the relative near future, I’ll be able to make some decisions,” he says. “But I want all the information I can get before I make those decisions.”