State

Maine State Police chief, senator discuss info sharing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins recently met with Col. John Cote, chief of the Maine State Police, in her Washington, D.C., office to discuss the importance of the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) program.

“I always appreciate the opportunity to thank law enforcement officers for their strong commitment to protecting our communities every day,” said Collins.  “Col. Cote and I had a productive discussion about how RISS tools have been extremely effective in helping to solve crimes throughout Maine, and I will continue to work to ensure that this critical program receives funding.”

Cote, a 29-year veteran of the Maine State Police, was sworn in as the chief last June. He is a native of Aroostook County and lived in Mars Hill for a majority of his career.

Collins has been a vocal and consistent champion for RISS grants, which facilitate information sharing, support criminal investigations and promote officer safety.  Last June, Collins announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $37 million — an increase of $1 million — for RISS as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice and Science bill.

In 2017, funding for RISS benefited nearly 140 law enforcement agencies and more than 3,000 law enforcement personnel in Maine.  Many of the tools available through the RISS network have allowed Maine law enforcement to collect considerable evidence to combat thefts, drug trafficking and other crimes.

RISS consists of six regional centers serving nearly 9,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, linking thousands of criminal justice agencies in their efforts to combat multi-jurisdictional crimes.  The program allows law enforcement officers to query intelligence databases, retrieve information from investigative systems, solicit assistance from research staff, utilize surveillance equipment, receive training, and use analytical staff to help prosecute criminals.

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