Snyder’s vision for BHPD
One month into the job, Boothbay Harbor Police Chief Doug Snyder shared his vision for the department: “An open-door policy with the public,” he said. “That’s what I want the department to be.” Snyder is not new to the department, having served as an officer for over six years.
Snyder’s vision includes expanding the “community-first model” which allows officers to spend as much time as needed with callers to provide the best service to the community, he said. “I’m not going to do everything the same as Bob (his predecessor, retired Police Chief Bob Hasch), he’s someone I look up to,” Snyder said. “His work with the CRC (Community Resource Council) on substance abuse in our community will be followed.”
Policies and procedures within the department are in good order, small changes and refinements will happen over time, Snyder explained. “But first we need people.”
Staffing is his top priority as the department is down to just two full-time officers. “I’m doing everything I can to hire people but I’m not going to compromise standards.” Officers who can be both nice, community-minded police, and still have the temperament to handle thefts and altercations that come in the summer months, are imperative: “We can handle everything from traffic to attempted murder,” and it’s equally important that we model good citizenship and care for our community, that we be good neighbors.”
“Lincoln County will always back us up. We receive between 36-50 hours of weekly supplemental patrol service from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office,” through a mutual aid agreement, he said. “And our department has five reserve officers, each filling one or two shifts weekly, which is great support.”
Still, staffing is a challenge. Compensation and burnout are the two biggest hurdles, he said. The week of March 13, Snyder attended a job fair in Massachusetts and found that other departments were paying twice as much.
Snyder and the town have rolled out a series of enhanced benefits and incentives he hopes will attract employees: Up to $16,000 sign-on bonus, generous medical and life coverage, robust paid time off and several more job perks can be found on the recruitment flyer at https://www.facebook.com/bbhpolice
To ease burnout, Snyder has created a new work-life balance plan of working two days on/two days off and every other weekend; he hopes it will appeal to recruits.
To date, the push to hire has resulted in three applications; while recruitment has been ongoing for some time, rollout of the enhanced benefits and aggressive recruitment efforts are just a few weeks old, as of March 1.
Minutes from the Feb. 27 Boothbay Harbor selectmen’s meeting state Snyder has signed up to attend a law enforcement job fair in Auburn in April, LCSO is helping recruitment efforts via a press release, and union contract negotiations were to begin the week of Feb. 27 with all bargaining units.
While concerned about having new officers onboarded and trained before the start of tourist season, Snyder remains optimistic the department will fill jobs and infuse the department with fresh energy and enthusiasm. “I’m excited by the opportunity to create my own team,” he said.
Snyder is also hopeful he can someday add a search and rescue K-9 to the department. Snyder has experience with K-9 units. His Springer Spaniel, Lucas, is a retired bomb-sniffing dog Snyder brought home from Afghanistan. “Right now, it’s not cost-effective,” he said.
“This is my community, too,” Snyder said. He, wife Jessica and their four dogs live in East Boothbay. His ideal day in Boothbay involves running or biking the peninsula, taking his dogs for a swim, and eating at restaurants. He has run the Beach to Beacon 10k twice and, when medically cleared, will resume triathlon training. “Pats, Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox,” he drilled when asked about sports allegiances.
“Serving the public is what I want to do, and in the way I can serve here.”