State police operations going 'extremely well' in Oxford County

by Peter McGuire, Staff Writer Sun Journal Jan. 31, 2014

PARIS — Maine State Police have been able to devote more resources to proactive law enforcement in Oxford County since dropping a call sharing agreement with the Sheriff's Office, according to the state police commander in the region. 

In an email Thursday, Lt. Walter Grzyb said his Troop B operations, based in Gray, have been going "extremely well" since the two agencies dropped the agreement in December. 

"We have seen fewer calls for routine service, which has allowed us to be more proactive," Grzyb said.

Prior to December, state troopers and county deputies covered calls in an alternating zone arrangement that had been in place since 1998.

Last week, Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant reported that the number of calls received by his organization in the first three weeks of January was significantly higher than the same time the year before, but deputies had been able to deal with the volume of calls. 

With a reduced call volume, state troopers have been able to devote their time to traffic enforcement and criminal investigations, as well as having more resources to provide backup and investigative support to local police departments, Grzyb said. 

As examples, Grzyb pointed to a highway safety detail conducted by four troopers on Route 26 in West Paris last week that stopped 17 motorists in one hour. They found a number of violations and seized drugs. 

In the past week, a four-person team of troopers helped carry out a search warrant in Hiram that led to three arrests. A five-trooper team broke up a "burglary ring" in Porter, arresting one person and recovering thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, Grzyb said. 

Both towns are in southern Oxford County.

"With fewer calls for service, we have been able to target problems and dedicate the resources needed to address them," he said. "This is something we have not been able to do in the past."