Cumberland County Winter 2016 Newsletter

Jennifer Ackerman is appointed Deputy District Attorney


District Attorney Stephanie Anderson announced that she has appointed Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Ackerman as Deputy District Attorney. On Thursday, January 28, in the Cumberland County Courthouse, DA Anderson administered the oath of office to Attorney Ackerman. Members of the District Attorney’s Office were in attendance, along with some guests.
 
Attorney Ackerman has been an employee of Cumberland County District Attorney's office since 2000, first as a student intern in the Juvenile Division then as an Assistant District Attorney in the District Court division, where she became its supervisor in 2003.  In 2009, when the office was reorganized for the Unified Criminal Docket, Attorney Ackerman was appointed Team Leader for the Red Team. In October 2015, she took over as the Purple Team Leader.
 
The Deputy District Attorney position had been vacant since December 8, when then-Deputy Megan Elam ended her 27-year tenure with the office to take a position as a homicide prosecutor in the Attorney General’s Office.
 
In making her decision to appoint ADA Ackerman, Anderson stated “Jen has the breadth and depth of experience in this office which is unparalleled. Her tenures in the Juvenile Division, the District Court Division and two out of three felony trial teams have laid the groundwork for her ability to understand the overall mission and operation of this office.  She has tried several difficult and high-profile cases, establishing her skills as an excellent trial attorney. She is deeply committed to public service, and has shown me over and over again that she exercises sound judgment and can effectively lead a group of diverse people.  I am fully confident that she possesses the necessary character, skill sets and motivation to fulfill and exceed the expectations of this demanding position.”
 
At the end of her swearing in, the new Deputy expressed a sincere appreciation for the faith and confidence that District Attorney has placed in her.  

Lawrence Road, Gray, Maine flooding

Hazard Mitigation Update


In Emergency Management, hazard mitigation is any action taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to human life and property from natural hazards.  In Maine, Hazard Mitigation Plans (HMP) are maintained at the state and county level.  Both the state and county level HMPs rely heavily on municipal mitigation considerations and municipal hazard mitigation needs are specifically addressed in the county level plan. The current Cumberland County HMP received Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approval in June 2012.
 
Every five years, FEMA requires an update to HMPs. As such, the Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency (CCEMA), on behalf of its cities and towns, is responsible for the effort. Each municipality is required to participate in the process and to endorse the final product in order to gain FEMA approval of the updated plan. With the approval comes renewed eligibility for all municipalities to compete for valuable mitigation grant funding.
 
The 2017 HMP update process began in earnest in late summer 2015. A detailed review of the status of projects listed in the 2012 Plan is ongoing and any new mitigation projects municipalities have proposed are being incorporated into the 2017 HMP Update. CCEMA has been working with local EMA Directors and Public Works Directors to gather data for the plan. This data includes municipal records and historical supporting documentation such as photographs and newspaper articles. To date, all towns have met with CCEMA staff and most are actively participating.
 
The data collection effort is extremely important. It can greatly facilitate the completion of pre-disaster mitigation grant applications should municipalities decide to compete for grant funding, and it can provide important documentation  to assist in the preparation of municipal capital improvement budgets. A summary of mitigation projects, either derived from or further refined, with this data collection initiative, will be included in the 2017 HMP Update.
 
Moving forward, CCEMA will continue collecting data on hazard events such as large rainstorms that produce flooding, and will address issues related to sea level rise and climate change. Public Works Departments are encouraged to continue using MEMA D-2 Damage “road tracker” forms to assist in tracking a “history of damages.”  Tracking hazard damage for mitigation projects is an important factor in the grant application process but generally proves difficult and time consuming to research. Utilizing “road tracker” forms can eliminate this difficulty by readily providing much of the history of repetitive damages needed when applying for these mitigation grants.
 
As previously noted, completion of this effort requires “adoption by the local governing body” before final approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Therefore, the Cumberland County Commissioners, the Boards of Selectmen, and the Councilors of the 28 Incorporated Cities and Towns will be asked to adopt the 2017 Cumberland County Hazard Mitigation Plan in early 2017. Adoption acknowledges that natural hazards create a risk of harm to persons and damage to property and that implementing certain measures may reduce the risk of harm to persons or property resulting from these natural hazards.

CCRCC Dispatchers in the community


Everyone has special training and skills here at Cumberland County – the Sheriff’s Office Deputies and Corrections Officers and their training to keep themselves and others safe; the Emergency Management Agency and providing resources and preparedness for big issues involving citizens; the Registry of Deeds and Probate Court keeping up with the skills and knowledge to properly record records so everyone has proper verification of what they own and who they are; the District Attorney’s office and the vast legal knowledge required; Cumberland County’s Facilities Department and all they do to maintain the Courthouse, Jail, Sheriff’s Office and Bunker in Windham; and the Regional Communications Center and the valuable assistance they provide in times of emergency.

In mid-February Grace Gendron, a dispatcher for the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center (CCRCC) provided CPR training for Cumberland County staff at the Courthouse. The training requirements needed to be a dispatcher are extensive. Dispatchers are all trained in the CPR and First Aid, but they are also trained in Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) which provides the skills and knowledge to assist when someone calls 9-1-1. Dispatchers walk callers through treatments until proper care arrives at the scene. They also have to help people in crisis, from possible suicide to having a baby. Their list of required training is long and must be updated regularly. Dispatchers are required to go through a 18 week training program before being allowed to answer calls on their own. Outside of the possible long and intense shifts, many dispatchers, such as Ms. Gendron, go out in the community and share their training and skills by doing CPR, First Aid and other trainings. As a County, we are thankful Ms. Gendron was able to share her knowledge, skills and time with our staff, and we are grateful to all emergency dispatch personal for sharing their time with us and helping to keep all of us safe in times of emergency.

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