East Lyme officials approve independent police department - WFSB 3 Connecticut

East Lyme officials approve independent police department

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East Lyme officials discuss independent police department (WFSB) East Lyme officials discuss independent police department (WFSB)
EAST LYME, CT (WFSB) -

History was made in the shoreline town of East Lyme, as town leaders voted on retiring the resident trooper program after 60 years.

East Lyme residents won't see any physical change in police cruisers or at police headquarters.

The town selectmen decided Wednesday night to create their own independent police department.

"We’ve grown. Over the past 50 years we've grown from 3,500 people to 19,000. Like other communities, we're ready for our own police force,” said First Selectman Mark Nickerson.

For nearly 60 years, the growing shoreline community has been served by a resident state trooper program.

The resident trooper management program costs the town $212,000 per year, to the state.

That trooper manages the town’s 22 trained and certified officers, who are already paid by the town under the public safety budget.

"The resident troopers worked fine. I'm sure the chief of police will be good too,” said George Mitchell, of Niantic.

Town leaders said the cost between having their own resident trooper program and their own police department is a wash right now.

The only thing they have to arrange is jail service in the town of Waterford, which is right next door.

The town of Ledyard ended their resident trooper program in January and hired a police chief.

Converting to an independent police department didn't seem to bother many people in East Lyme last month during a public hearing on the issue.

When asked what is in the benefit to the town, Nickerson said “better value, better accountability, a local manage slash supervisor, the police chief who will be embedded in our community."

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