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‘We recognize that change starts with us’: State police agencies detail practices, vow to improve

In light of recent protests, Maine police agencies released an overview of policies and procedures and said they ‘embrace and honor’ the responsibility to improve.
Credit: Gabrielle Mannino/NCM
Police in riot gear form a barrier along the streets in downtown Portland at a protest.

MAINE, USA — Representatives from the Maine Chiefs of Police Association, the Maine Sheriffs Association, the Maine Prosecutors Association, and the Maine Department of Public Safety have released a detailed overview of policies and procedures, specifically those that have been brought to the forefront of discourse amid police reform efforts across the country.

Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Steve McCausland said these agencies are continuing to review policies “with a common goal of improving the services and protection” of Maine citizens.

The document is a more detailed overview of what police discussed on the steps of Portland City Hall earlier this month in response to racial justice protests. The agencies say they are “thoroughly” reviewing policies and they “commit to remaining transparent and eliminating police cultures that condone any social injustices.”

“We recognize that change starts with us,” they said. “We embrace and honor this responsibility.”

The document details topics like hiring, training, de-escalation, chokeholds, use-of-force practices, and more.

Read an overview of the policies in the release:

RELATED: Police chiefs from Greater Portland speak about recent protests

After the Maine Association of Police initially made their statement in early June in response to protests, Black Lives Matter Portland responded by saying, "Be better." 

The organization wrote in part:

BLM Portland did not organize the protests of the past several days. But BLM Portland is still alarmed and dismayed by the statement that the Maine Association of Police (“MAP”) released yesterday. MAP’s statement lacks sensitivity to the concerns driving protests. It betrays a misunderstanding of structural racism. Worst of all, it draws a false equivalence between the murderous systems of structural racism, and the actions and attitudes of some protesters. We will take each concern in turn.

RELATED: Black Lives Matter Portland responds to statement from Maine Assoc. of Police: "Be better."

“The law enforcement community is engaged in a continuous cycle of analysis and change with a goal to always seeking to improve our delivery of services,” the agencies say in the release. “This commitment to growth and progress requires a self-critical eye and an open mind. We look forward to continued engagement with our communities and with citizens who rightfully expect the best from their protectors.”

The release is signed by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association President Chief Jack Peck, the Maine Sheriffs Association President Sheriff Troy Morton, and the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Public Safety Michael Sauschuck.

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