“You try to reintegrate them into the community,” Church said. “They are going to be turned back into your community.”
Local police officials agree successfully introducing inmates back into the community is an important part of the program.
One of its biggest supporters is Kingston police Chief Donald Briggs, who helped found the program.
“I’ve been using a trusty since 1994,” he said. “It’s saved the town of Kingston a lot of money in the last 20 years.”
Briggs said he is very selective when screening candidates, choosing inmates with a good attitude, whom he believes he can trust.
“If I feel the individual is not going to work here, they don’t come,” he said. “The people who come here want to be here. I try to work with these individuals to try to rehabilitate them and not go back into that same environment.”
They are closely supervised while performing maintenance duties around the police department, he said.
That’s also the case at the Hampstead police station, where inmates work two days a week, Lt. John Frazier said.
“We are very happy with it,” he said. “As long as the system is available, we will certainly participate.”
Briggs and Frazier said they can’t explain what occurred in East Kingston, saying it wouldn’t happen in their departments. Brisbois also is alleged to have driven a police cruiser without supervision.
“We never had issues, ever,” Frazier said. “But, at the same time, they are closely supervised. ... We don’t even allow them to move the cruisers.”
Positive impact reported
Once they are released from jail, some inmates even stop by the Kingston police station to say hi, Briggs said.
They appreciate the opportunity they received working for the department, he said, as opposed to spending each day of their sentence behind bars.