History of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office – Part IV

This is the fourth in a series of articles which explores the history of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.  These articles were published in some of the local newspapers in the summer and fall of 2013. (Articles are archived here with permission of the author.)

Author’s Note:  While organizing rooms on the fourth floor of the Washington County Jail in the early part of 2013, members of the Sheriff’s Office found Jail Calendars dating back to 1805.  The level of detail available in the calendars varies greatly depending on the jailer at the time, and this series of articles aims to provide highlights from these calendars.  The archaic spelling of “jail” as “gaol” was used well into the 1800’s, with the exception of one short period between March and September of 1820, when Maine was a young state.  All information, unless otherwise noted, comes from the jail calendars and the Washington County Commissioner’s Records.  This is the fourth article in the series.

The Court of General Sessions which was begun in October of 1798 was continued on the 14th May 1799 at the house of Samuel Ellis.  Justices present at the session were Esquires Stephen Jones, George Stillman, and Phineas Bruce.

The committee originally appointed to purchase the old meeting house from John Hodgkins was dismissed, and a new committee to purchase or build a court house was appointed.  Stephen jones, Phineas Bruce, and Jacob Longfellow were chosen for that task.

At his request, Sheriff John Cooper was dismissed as a member of the Gaol Committee.

At the next Court of General Sessions of the Peace, begun on 20th August 1799, Sheriff Cooper protested “against the sufficiency of the County Gaol for the safe keeping of prisoners”.  His concerns, while recorded, were not addressed during the session.

Justices present at the August 1800 session were Stephen Jones, Alexander Campbell, Theodore Lincoln, George Stillman, John Brewer, Phineas Bruce, and James Campbell.  George Stillman was once again chosen to be the County Treasurer, a role important in the early days of the Sheriff’s Office, as the Treasurer kept track of fines and costs of court owed by current and former inmates.

The session was adjourned until the first Wednesday in October at the house of Samuel Ellis.  The first order of business was to build a house for the Gaoler.  Stephen Jones, Sheriff John Cooper, and Jacob Longfellow were nominated to be the committee in charge of this task.  The committee was also charged with making a report disputing the limits of the goal yard, to be presented at the next adjournment of the court.

The May 1801 session of the court brought a new facet of responsibility to John Cooper when it ordered that the house of Samuel Ellis be made a “Goal [sic] house for Debtors”.

The gaol and Gaoler’s house must have taken quite a time to plan, even before construction began.  The May session was adjourned until 20 October 1801.  At that time, Jacob Longfellow resigned from the committee responsible for erecting a house for the Gaoler.  Longfellow was replaced by Theodore Lincoln.

At the same session, the court order that $624.99 be set aside for the gaoler’s house and $17 for the “repair of the gaol”.  The estimate for the coming year included an additional $300 for the completion of the gaol and gaol house, as well as $60 for the Sheriff for house rent for the gaol keeper, who must have lived with the Sheriff until his home was constructed.  $80 was estimated for the Sheriff, clerk, and attorney.

Deputy and Gaolor William Albee resigned his post in 1801.  For the next four years, we can only guess that Sheriff John Cooper served as his own jailer and deputy, as records indicate that the next Deputy Sheriff and Gaolor was William Chaloner, who was appointed on 21st June, 1805.  Chaloner resigned 15th of July 1817, but we owe much to his twelve years in office.  The first of the jail calendars of Washington County that exists begins with records for the year 1805.  Whether or not calendars were kept before that time is unknown, however Chaloner’s records set the format which all calendars would use for more than one hundred and ninety years.

1801 brought another change to the Court.  Ralph H. Bowles, who had been the court clerk since 1790, was replaced by Josiah Harris.

1802 was a quiet year for the Sheriff’s Office.  During the August 1803 session, however, John Cooper’s duties must have been increased considerably.  With a small margin over George Stillman, incumbent and Registrar of Deeds, Cooper was elected as Treasurer for the County.   Throughout all the excitement, Cooper maintained his role as Sheriff.

For the first time in a long time, the court held a trial that made it to the records.  It was alleged that John Mitchel of Harrington was guilty of injuring the property of John Coffin of Addison.  It was reported that, on the night of 10 September 1802, Mitchel broke into Coffin’s cow close.  He used a long knife to cut two teats (and part of another) from one cow, while cutting one teat (and parts of two others) from a second cow.  Mitchel pleaded guilty and was sentenced to twenty lashes, a fine and court costs, and the admonition to be on good behavior for one year.

teats (and part of another) from one cow, while cutting one teat (and parts of two others) from a second cow.  Mitchel pleaded guilty and was sentenced to twenty lashes, a fine and court costs, and the admonition to be on good behavior for one year.

May 10-16 National Police Week

Since 1962, when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which declared that May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day, and the week in which the 15th falls as Police Week, law enforcement officers and agencies across the country have held this week to be one of great import.

As with many civil services, the role of a police officer is not glamorous or prestigious.  The more than twenty-five full and part-time deputies here at the Washington County Sheriff’s Office became law enforcement officers because they all wanted to give back to their communities in a way that feels meaningful to them.

Lately, police departments all over the country have been highlighted in the news.  Our hearts are heavy for the agencies and communities who are at odds with each other.  We hope that those issues are resolved soon, and that the officers in those communities can go back to doing the work that they love.  Here in our own communities, we feel truly blessed to have the support of so many of our neighbors and friends for the work that we do each and every day.

Please join us in our appreciation of all of our deputies this week, as well as in all of the officers from other agencies with whom we work.

Weekly Report 4/13/15 to 4/19/15

WEEKLY REPORT

WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

04/13/15 to 04/19/15

ITEMS OF INTEREST:

We have had a number of calls lately regarding noise complaints.  Please remember that, as the days are longer, your neighbors may be outside more enjoying the nice weather.  Sometimes their activities are noisy, but your neighbors aren’t necessarily doing anything illegal.  On the flip side, if you are a person who enjoys being outside – whether doing yard work or simply enjoying the sunshine – before breakfast in the morning or after dinner in the evening, remember that not all of your neighbors keep the same schedule you do.  Because of illnesses, age (both young and old), preferences, work demands, or other factors, not all of us are out and about during the same times.  Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, please do your best to be a good neighbor.  A little respect goes a long way.

The Sheriff’s Office received and responded to 81 calls for service this week.

04/13/15:

Deputy Timothy Carter assisted officers from the Machias Police Department in the search for a suspect on Court Street in Machias.  They were unable to locate the suspect at that time.

A routine traffic stop on Main Street in Milbridge was initiated by Deputy Jim Malloy.  The operator was summonsed for failure to provide proof of insurance.

Cpl. Greg Sawyer responded to a complaint of loud noises on Route 1 in Perry.  Neighbors were interviewed, but the cause of the noise could not be determined.

Deputy Jim Malloy, assisted by Officer Alan Stanwood of the Milbridge Police Department, arrested an individual for operating under the influence on the Marshville Road in Harrington.  Field sobriety tests were give, and the individual was transported to the Washington County Jail, where he refused the Intoxylizer test.

04/14/15:

A report of criminal trespass on Allen Lane in Lubec was investigated by Deputy Timothy Carter.  The suspect was issued summonses for criminal mischief and criminal trespass.

04/15/15:

A car-deer crash on Main Street in East Machias was investigated by Cpl. Greg Sawyer.  No injuries were reported.

04/16/15:

Cpl. Greg Sawyer was called to a residence on Main Street in Princeton to discharge a deer that had been hit by a vehicle.  The owner of a nearby residence helped find someone who could use the deer.

04/17/15:

Deputy Tim Carter, assisted by Sgt. Brandon Parker, responded to an incomplete 9-1-1 call on Main Street in East Machias.  Upon arriving at the site, they found a suicidal subject.  The subject agreed to be transported to Downeast Community Hospital.  Upon arriving at the hospital, the subject became uncooperative, but eventually calmed down.

A two-vehicle crash on Route 1 in Steuben was attended by Lt. Timothy Tabbutt.  No injuries were reported.

Deputy Jim Malloy attended a car-deer crash on Mason’s Bay Road in Jonesport.  No injuries were reported.

04/18/15:

A routine traffic stop on Route 1 in Machias was initiated by Deputy Tim Carter.  The operator of the vehicle was issued a citation for operating after suspension, as well as a citation for failure to provide evidence of insurance.

Deputy Tim Carter conducted a bail check on Charles Street in Machias.  The individual was issued a summons for bail violation for a positive THC urinalysis.

04/19/15:

A report of theft and vandalism on the Schoppee Point Road in Roque Bluffs was investigated by Deputy Tim Carter.  The incident was later resolved by the complainant.

Deputy Tim Carter responded to a report of harassment on Route 1 in Pembroke.  The subject was unable to be located at the time.

Weekly Report 04/06/15 to 04/12/15

WEEKLY REPORT

WASHINGTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

04/06/15 to 04/12/15

ITEMS OF INTEREST:

          We want to thank all of you who read our weekly report in the newspapers and on our blog (www.washingtoncountysheriff.wordpress.com). For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, please also check out our Facebook page.  We can be found listed as “The Washington County Sheriff’s Office”.  This is a great place to keep tabs on upcoming events, news articles, and information we may share from other agencies.  You can also send us private messages there if you have questions about what to do in certain situations.  For example, this week we had someone ask about what to do with hypodermic needles found beside the road.  This generated a Facebook post as well as a blog post.  (Remember, though, Facebook is never a substitute for calling 9-1-1 in an emergency.)

            The Sheriff’s Office received and responded to 95 calls for service this week.

04/06/15:

            Sgt. Brandon Parker responded to a single-vehicle accident on the Milbridge Road in Cherryfield.  The driver was transported to the hospital for possible injuries.

            A routine traffic stop on North Street in Harrington resulted in the arrest of an individual.  Deputy James Malloy transported the driver to the Washington County Jail and issued summonses for attaching false plates and operating after suspension.

            Deputy Timothy Carter responded to the scene of an accident on Route 1 in Edmunds.  The driver had left the scene of the accident, but Deputy Carter – with the help of Officer Lewis Evans and Officer Damon Dore of the Pleasant Point Police Department – was able to find the driver.  Field sobriety tests were given, and Deputy Carter transported the individual to the Washington County Jail for an Intoxylizer test.  The individual arrested and booked into the jail on charges of operating under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.

04/07/15:

            A single-vehicle crash on the Great Cove Road in Roque Bluffs was attended by Deputy Timothy Carter.  An individual was transported to Downeast Community Hospital for possible injuries.

            Deputy Timothy Carter arrested an individual on Court Street in Machias for an outstanding warrant.  The individual was taken to the Washington County Jail.

04/08/15:

            Deputy Timothy Carter attended the scene of a car-deer crash on Route 1 in Jonesboro.  No injuries were reported.

            A car-deer accident on Route 9 in Wesley was investigated by Deputy Timothy Carter.  No injuries were reported.

            Sgt. Brandon Parker investigated a two-vehicle accident just off the Addison Road in Columbia.  No injuries were reported.

04/09/15:

            Sgt. Ralph Pineo attended the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Route 86 in Marion.  Possible injuries were reported.

04/10/15:

            Deputy James Malloy responded to a report of theft on Masonic Lane in Pembroke.  The investigation remains open.

            While investigating another call on the Cross Road in Columbia, Lt. Timothy Tabbutt came in contact with an individual who had an outstanding warrant.  The individual was transported to the Washington County Jail.

            Lt. Timothy Tabbutt responded to a report of assault on the Unionville Road in Steuben.  Upon being interviewed, the victim decided against pressing charges.

04/11/15:

            A car-deer crash on Route 1 in Whiting was investigated by Deputy James Malloy.  No injuries were reported.

            Deputy Dennis Perry investigated a car-deer accident on the Route 191 in Machiasport.  No injuries were reported.

A request for an individual to be removed from a property on the Ridge Road in Cherryfield was answered by Lt. Timothy Tabbutt.  The suspect was arrested for criminal mischief and taken to the Washington County Jail.

            Deputy Dennis Perry initiated several traffic stops throughout the county for various violations, including speeding, unregistered vehicles, failure to provide proof of insurance, and headlights/taillights that were not functioning properly.

04/12/15:

            Lt. Timothy Tabbutt attended a car-deer crash on Route 191 in Machiasport.  No injuries were reported.

            A car-deer accident on Route 189 in Trescott was investigated by Deputy James Malloy.  No injuries were reported.

            A report of theft on the Milbridge Road in Cherryfield was investigated by Lt. Timothy Tabbutt, with assistance from Deputy Dennis Perry.  The investigation remains ongoing.

            Lt. Timothy Tabbutt investigated a report of theft on Abbey Lane in Steuben.  The investigation was closed due to lack of interest of the victim.

            Deputy Dennis Perry responded to a complaint for a possible domestic disturbance on the Hadley Lake Road in East Machias.  The parties involved were separated, and a referral to DHHS was made.

            Sgt. Brandon Parker answered a call regarding a burglary on the Ridge Road in Addison.  The investigation remains open.

            During a routine traffic stop on Route 1 in Columbia Falls, Deputy Dennis Perry issued a summons for operating after suspension and operating an unregistered motor vehicle.

Sharps: What to do to Keep Yourself Safe

Many of us have encountered “sharps” at some point in our lives.  We have had our blood drawn, been administered tetanus shots, or maybe even had an I.V. prior to surgery.  Those of us who are diabetics are also familiar with other sharps, which include lancets and auto-injectors.  There are many reasons that people have to legally use these sharps in home settings.

Unfortunately, illegal drug users also employ sharps.  Needles, syringes, and infusion sets that make their way onto the roadsides, parking lots, and playgrounds of our communities may come from a number of sources, and whether their original use was legal or illegal, they should all be treated with caution.

On its website (www.fda.gov), the Food and Drug Administration offers this advice on sharps disposal and what to do if you accidentally are stuck by a sharp.

Importance of Safe Sharps Disposal

Used needles and other sharps are dangerous to people and pets if not disposed of safely because they can injure people and spread infections that cause serious health conditions. The most common infections are:

  • Hepatitis B (HBV),
  • Hepatitis C (HCV), and
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

Safe sharps disposal is important whether you are at home, at work, at school, traveling, or in other public places such as hotels, parks, and restaurants.

Never place loose needles and other sharps (those that are not placed in a sharps disposal container) in the household or public trash cans or recycling bins, and never flush them down the toilet. This puts trash and sewage workers, janitors, housekeepers, household members, and children at risk of being harmed.

Pet owners who use needles to give medicine to their pets should follow the same sharps disposal guidelines used for humans.

What to Do If You Are Accidently Stuck By a Used Needle or Other Sharp

If you are accidently stuck by another person’s used needle or other sharp:

  1. Wash the exposed area right away with water and soap or use a skin disinfectant (antiseptic) such as rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  2. Seek immediate medical attention by calling your physician or local hospital.

Follow these same instructions if you get blood or other bodily fluids in your eyes, nose, mouth, or on your skin. For more information on viruses and needle-stick prevention, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s website.

DOs and DON’Ts of Proper Sharps Disposal

  • DO immediately place used needles and other sharps in a sharps disposal container to reduce the risk of needle sticks, cuts or punctures from loose sharps.
  • DO use an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container, if possible. If an FDA-cleared container is not available, some organizations and community guidelines recommend using a heavy-duty plastic household container as an alternative.
  • DO make sure that if a household container is used, it has the basic features of a good disposal container.
  • DO carry a portable sharps disposal container for travel.
  • DO follow your community guidelines for getting rid of your sharps disposal container.
  • DO call your local trash or public health department (listed in the county and city government section of your phone book) to find out about sharps disposal programs in your area.
  • DO ask your health care provider, veterinarian, local hospital or pharmacist
    • where and how to get an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container,
    • if they can dispose of your used needles and other sharps, or
    • if they know of sharps disposal programs near you.
  • DO keep all sharps and sharps disposal containers out of reach of children and pets.
  • DO seal sharps disposal containers when disposing of them, label them properly and check your community guidelines on how to properly dispose of them.
  • DO ask your medical or prescription insurer whether they cover sharps disposal containers.
  • DO ask the manufacturer of your drug products that are used with a needle or other sharps if they provide a sharps disposal container to patients at no charge.
  • DO report a problem associated with sharps and disposal containers.
  • DON’T throw loose needles and other sharps into the trash.
  • DON’T flush needles and other sharps down the toilet.
  • DON’T put needles and other sharps in your recycling bin — they are not recyclable.
  • DON’T try to remove, bend, break, or recap needles used by another person. This can lead to accidental needle sticks, which may cause serious infections.

And remember, please call the Sheriff’s Office (255-4422) or send us a private Facebook message if you have any questions.  Generally, we advise people to carefully dispose of the needle by wearing thick gloves (preferably covered with a pair of disposable rubber gloves) and using a pair of pliers to pick up the needle, which can then be dropped inside an empty soda bottle. The cap should then be securely placed back on the bottle with the needle sealed inside. If you are not comfortable in doing this, you can mark the spot where the needle is located with a flag or some other item that clearly identifies the location. You can then call the Regional Communications Center at 255-4422 Ext. 17 or 25 and they will attempt to locate a deputy in your area who can dispose of the needle.