Clinton Residents to Vote On Police Department 

Twice this year, residents in the town of Clinton have voted down the Police Department Budget.But a group of citizens circulated a petition calling for another vote. That will happen on June 8th. So, now residents must decide if they want to continue to have a police department in town.”I would say to keep the people safe yes.””I know what it’s about, people doing violence drugs and all that crazy stuff. It happens even in a small town like Clinton.”Most of the people we spoke with in Clinton told us, they want to keep the police department.But a lot of people don’t, and have voted twice against the department budget of $175,000 dollars. That’s the same level of funding since 2006.Chief Charlie Runnels says, “If the budget is voted down on June 8th, then at midnight June 30th the Clinton Police Department will cease to exist.”The alternative is basic rural patrol by State Police and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department, which is free.But the Chief says that response times for calls will increase, and the level of service will go down.”We do everything from major felony investigations to write traffic tickets to go and check on grandma when you haven’t heard from her for a couple of days, we do everything.”Even though Clinton is a small town, the police department has responded to a lot of calls, more than 2000 last year.”If you talk to any law enforcement professional in this state, they would say we have a high call volume in this small town.”Town Manager Aaron Chrostowsky says there’s been a lot of misinformation about the budget, so he hopes citizens are fully informed before they cast their next ballot.He points out that if the budget is voted down this time, the three full employees of the police department will lose their jobs and he believes the entire community will be affected.”Quality of life will change dramatically and I’d like to retain the quality of life””You will hear people say, I don’t need a police department. Well you con’t need a police department until someone’s kicking your front door down. Then all of a sudden, you want one real bad.”