By Carol McCracken (Post # 821)
Over the last year there has been a series of serious crimes on Peaks Island. With that in mind, the Peaks Island Council invited Portland Police Chief James Craig to meet with Islanders to discuss some of their issues. However, as was anticipated, on Tuesday, Craig announced his resignation and that he has accepted a comparable job in Cincinnati. He said at the end of his press conference that he would not be attending the Peaks Island Council meeting last night.
Rather, Commander Vern Malloch and assistant police chief Michael Sauchuck met with Peaks residents and listened to their concerns about a rash of criminal activity over the past year. With only one officer on duty at the Island at a time, required back-up from Portland is slow getting to the Island – leaving it wide-open to criminal activity. Jane Gerard wanted to know how many arrests have been made during this crime spree. “No one is held accountable,” Gerard said. Sauchuch said he did not have that information with him. He did say arrests may have been made and the public did not hear about them. Sauchuck said he was open to meeting periodically with Islanders, but no schedule was set up. Neither was a meeting with the Senior Lead Officer established to assist in communication between the parties as was requested.
Over Memorial Day weekend, a dozen bikes were stolen and the Island SLO knew nothing about the theft. One response was that it’s not like the 1950s. People have to fill out police reports and lock their bikes and cars. Suschuck reported that an average of less than one phone call per day is made to the police department from Peaks. He urged Islanders to report crimes to the police as soon as they occur. The dispatacher’s number is: 874-8575.
Paul Brahms suggested the PIC prepare a handout to people arriving at the Island for the summer season about rules & regs on the Peaks. Heather Thompson, PIC member liked the idea, but Eric Eaton said he didn’t think it would have a positive effect on more serious offenders. Lynn Richards asked if the police department could help with the youth on the Island who need more to do. Sauchuck says the department has a youth officer to whom he would pass this request.
While many seemed upbeat following the meeting, Jack Soley said he was disappointed with it. “I was disappointed there were no actionable items that we could point to and say that these will be adopted by the police department. I had a general feeling of emptiness that no definitive date for a follow-up was set.”