New contract aims to attract and retain police officers in Fort Kent
FORT KENT, Maine — A new contract the Fraternal Order of Police and the town of Fort Kent unanimously ratified will significantly increase wages and other benefits for police officers.
The aim of the three-year contract, effective through 2024, is to attract and retain Fort Kent police officers.
The new contract includes a $4 wage increase throughout the next four years, more personal days and medical insurance coverage and an enhanced retirement package.
It also includes retention bonuses of up to $5,000 annually based on years of service with the department.
“This package certainly makes us more competitive,” Fort Kent Police Chief Tom Pelletier said. “This is a giant step for us to help grow our police department.”
Fort Kent is one of only two remaining departments in the St. John Valley that sustains an active police department.
Van Buren closed its department last December due to a lack of officers. Madawaska is the other town that still has a department in the Valley.
Chief Pelletier will leave the department on Friday.
When running at capacity, the Fort Kent department employs four full-time officers and a full-time chief of police. The department is seeking a new chief, as well as two additional full-time officers to fill its roster.
The department averages 5,000 calls a year in a town that has a little more than 4,000 people, Pelletier said.
Applicants must be willing to and capable of becoming certified as a full-time police officer through Maine Criminal Justice Academy or have completed or be ready to complete the Law Enforcement Pre-Service Training Program.