At a short Dec. 23 meeting, China selectmen appointed a town police chief and met and appointed a new patrolman.
Craig Johnson, who has been serving in China’s part-time police department for almost two years, is the new chief. Town Manager Dennis Heath said the appointment means Johnson will be in charge of scheduling and similar administrative matters.
Jeremy Willis, a Skowhegan police officer and Information Technology Director for Somerset County, will become a China patrol officer. Johnson, a Somerset County deputy sheriff, works with Willis and recommended him; and Heath said Maine Corrections Commissioner Randall Liberty recommended Johnson as chief.
The manager again said he plans to suggest a change in local policing when he, selectmen and budget committee members begin discussion of China’s 2020-2021 budget in January. Earlier in 2019 he sought cost estimates for one full-time police officer.
China now has five police officers, Heath said, who work a total of 26 hours a week. State policemen and county sheriff’s deputies also cover the town, rotating every two weeks.
Selectmen heard two brief reports, from Tom Michaud of the Tax Increment Financing Committee on plans for work on fire roads around China Lake and from board member Wayne Chadwick on his discussion – by invitation – with fire chiefs about town funding. Chadwick emphasized that he did not speak for the board during the discussion.
According to the town website, China selectmen meet again Monday evening, Jan. 6.