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Sheriff says he is disappointed that Newfane cancelled its contract

NEWFANE—“I think it’s a loss for the town,” Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark told The Commons in response to the Newfane Selectboard declining to renew its contract with his department.

At the July 6 regular Selectboard meeting, the Board voted to enter into a contract for the Vermont State Police to serve its law-enforcement needs. [See “Newfane fires Sheriffs Department,” Town & Village, July 15.]

In a telephone conversation, Clark said he anticipates Newfane residents will still call his department requesting such things as Vehicle Identification Number checks, or for deputies to look in on their homes while they vacation.

But, now those tasks are in the hands of the Vermont State Police. With the nearest barracks located at least a half-hour away from the center of Newfane, response times may suffer.

And it will only get worse when the Vermont State Police close the Brattleboro and Rockingham stations. Clark said the Vermont State Police plans to consolidate the stations into one, in Westminster near Interstate 91 Exit 6.

When asked about Selectboard Chair Todd Lawley’s complaint that “We’ve asked them to do patrols on the back roads because there have been so many break-ins, and I don’t even know if they’re doing that because nobody shows up here to give us an update,” Clark said there are ways a town can easily remain informed of his department’s patrols.

“We give all our towns access to our STAR system,” Clark said, where “deputies document what they’ve done” while patrolling a town.

“We’ve provided great service to the town” for the amount of money paid to his department, Clark said, noting it has cost more for the Sheriff’s Department to patrol Newfane than what the town has paid.

But, Clark said, “I’m not going to argue with the town."

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Originally published in The Commons issue #316 (Wednesday, July 29, 2015). This story appeared on page D1.

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