GOULDSBORO — The Board of Selectmen approved a policy change proposed by Police Chief Tyler Dunbar on Nov. 30 allowing police officers from Gouldsboro to make arrests outside of the town’s borders.
The move allows Gouldsboro police to arrest people anywhere in Maine.
Maine state law allows municipal officers to grant police officers the power to make arrests outside of the town or city they work for. The law requires police officers to notify the law enforcement agency in charge of the area where the arrest was made either before or right after the arrest.
Winter Harbor Police Chief Danny Mitchell, who is the former police chief for Gouldsboro, told Dunbar he believed Gouldsboro police previously had this power. Dunbar was unable to find a document granting his force this power, so he sought an official approval from the selectmen.
Gouldsboro Town Manager Bryan Kaenrath said the policy was essentially in existence before in the town, but some paperwork had been filed incorrectly, with the town name listed as Ellsworth instead of Gouldsboro. Dunbar’s Nov. 30 request solved that issue.
Dunbar said the policy is helpful to his force because previously they could only make arrests while in “hot pursuit of an individual.”
“There are times when this would not be practical,” Dunbar said. “A couple examples are when we are providing mutual aid to another law enforcement agency and may need to make an arrest outside our area without having time to apply for an arrest warrant.”
He said the policy also could be helpful if his officers determine there is probable cause to make a warrantless arrest outside of the town. Instead of having to obtain an arrest warrant, the officers could go arrest the individual, as long as the person is in Maine.
“Obviously, suspects who commit crimes in Gouldsboro may reside in another town, so it makes sense that this could happen during an interview outside our jurisdiction,” Dunbar said.