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8/29/2013 4:27:00 PM
Two Waldoboro Police Officers Resign Over Job Uncertainty
By Dominik Lobkowicz

Two Waldoboro police officers, Detective Jason Benefield and Officer Jeremy Jocelyn, have resigned and taken new positions due to job security concerns relating to proposed budget cuts, according to Chief Bill Labombarde.

"They're both excellent officers and it's a great loss to our community and our department," Labombarde said in an interview Aug. 29.

Jocelyn began with the department in 2010 as a reserve officer and became full time in August 2011; Benefield has only been with the department since Feb. 4, according to Labombarde.

"They both are leaving because of security," Labombarde said. "They both have families and they no longer feel secure in their employment here."

An article on the warrant for Waldoboro's special town meeting on Sept. 10 calls for the police department to shoulder a $60,000 budget reduction to help accommodate a $106,000 reduction in anticipated state revenue sharing. In July, the Board of Selectmen originally voted to cut the department's budget by $110,000.

On Aug. 4, then-full-time Officer John Lash was laid off from his position and changed to part-time reserve officer status, according to a monthly report supplement Labombarde sent to the selectmen. Lash had previously worked for the department as a part-time officer in 2005, Labombarde said.

In the supplement, Labombarde said the department's officers work hard to ensure public safety in an efficient and professional manner, but the reduction in staff has made their commitment "extremely difficult to achieve" and have had "staggering" effects on department morale.

Aside from Lash's layoff, several officers were considering employment at other agencies because they "no longer believe their employment with the Town of Waldoboro is secure," Labombarde wrote.

Due to the resignations of Benefield and Jocelyn, however, Lash has since been hired back and will return to full-time status as of Saturday, Aug. 31, Labombarde said Aug. 29. Lash will hopefully attend Maine Criminal Justice Academy in January, Labombarde said.

Labombarde said he hopes there will be no further resignations.

Benefield has accepted a position as an investigator for the Department of Corrections at the Maine State Prison in Warren. He confirmed his resignation was due to instability of his employment at Waldoboro Police Department.

"I have a wife and kids, and I have to look out for them first and foremost," Benefield said.

Benefield said his new position will be investigating crimes both within the prison population and internally. His resignation from Waldoboro is effective Wednesday, Sept. 11.

Jocelyn has taken a position as a patrol deputy for the Knox County Sheriff's Office, according to Labombarde.

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