Police & Fire

Cpl. Gatcomb named Dexter PD Officer of the Year  

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DEXTER — Cpl. Dana Gatcomb was honored as the Dexter Police Department Officer of the Year during a Jan. 9 town council meeting.


Chief Kevin Wintle said the award “is something we started last year actually and I’m kind of looking at the person who’s giving everything, is stepping up.


Observer photo/Stuart Hedstrom
DEXTER OFFICER OF THE YEAR — Dexter Police Chief Kevin Wintle, left, presents Cpl. Dana Gatcomb with a plaque signifying him as the department Officer of the Year, during a Jan. 9 town council meeting.


“So what does a chief look for in the Officer of the Year,” Wintle said. He mentioned criteria includes work ethic, leadership, knowledge, a positive attitude, “when asked to complete a task it gets done,” conviction rate and “positive feedback from the public, that really is used.” 


“This Officer of the Year he could make an OUI arrest and by the time the person that got the OUI gets processed out, they would shake his hand — how about that?,” Wintle said.


The chief then introduced all the members of the department in attendance and not present and said another key attribute for the award selection is loyalty. “Every one of these guys here, they’re not doing it because of the money they’re doing it because of loyalty to the town and to help the community,” Wintle said.


He then called Gatcomb forward, mentioning the corporal has been with the Dexter Police Department for more than a decade. Before handing Gatcomb a plaque recognizing him as the Dexter Police Department Officer of the Year, Wintle said he and others can check with Gatcomb as the corporal never forgets license plate numbers and dates of birth of those he comes in contact with in the line of duty.


“To Kevin and all the officers, thank you for doing this job,” Council Chair Marcia Delaware said following the award presentation.


In other business, the council passed a motion of support for a 2021 Group Mission Trips workcamp in Dexter.


During last month’s meeting Councilor Andrew Bermudez — who serves as pastor  of the First Baptist Church of Dexter — said those involved in bringing the Group Mission Trips workcamp to town last July to help area residents with needed homeowners would like to see this project return in 2021.


“I just want to bring up the idea of the next one in 2021,” Bermudez said in December, as the council decided to have a workcamp item on the January agenda to potentially make a formal motion in support.


The 2019 edition had a $10,000 contribution from the town.


“This time we’re trying to take some of the burden off the town with some sponsors,” Town Manager Tramas King said. “Now that people know what it is we think we can get that.”


Four hundred volunteers from 13 states spent nearly a week in Dexter from July 22-26 working  to fix 60 homes at no cost for residents who otherwise could not afford to have the needed repairs taken care of. Home improvement projects were carried out by Group Mission Trips, a non-profit, interdenominational Christian volunteer home-repair organization based in Fort Collins, Colorado.


During the summer there were about three dozen different workcamps with over 14,000 volunteers going into communities across the United States. The Dexter workcamp was sponsored by the town, The First Baptist Church and various businesses following multiple years of planning.


In his report, King said the first planning meeting for the 2020 Maine Red Hot Dog Festival was held recently. He said the fifth annual event is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15 in and around the downtown.


The town manager also said he met with Benjamin Ransom, power marketing manager for the St. Paul Minnesota-based ReneSola Power Holdings, LLC, about potential areas in Dexter that the company could utilize for solar panels. King said the former landfill and airport properties could potentially be leased from the town by the firm, which has prepared draft lease agreements.


The council is set to discuss the solar possibilities more at the February meeting.

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