Officer says he was fired over residency law

Posted Oct. 31, 2009, at 12:03 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:10 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — Town officials fired police Officer Chad Chubbuck earlier this week because he would not comply with a town residency requirement that mandated he live within 15 miles of town lines, he said late Thursday.

“We left on peaceful terms,” Chubbuck said in a telephone message. “They have the policy and basically I violated it. … That’s the whole story.”

Town Manager Lisa Goodwin again declined to comment on the matter Friday, citing personnel concerns.

Chubbuck moved from town to Milford because his wife got a new job in Bangor. The move, he said, was more convenient for her and her work travel requirements.

“Milford provided us with a place that was halfway in between, timewise. I was disappointed to leave Lincoln but look forward to future opportunities,” Chubbuck said.

The termination did not come without extensive communication on both sides.

Chubbuck had disputed with the Town Council the town’s residency requirements, appearing before the council during at least one council meeting. He had applied for a waiver, which other officers had received previously, and was rejected.

The council also chose not to amend the policy, citing the need for officers to live in or close to town in case of an emergency.

Chubbuck earned several commendations during his time on the job. He was making a routine check at FASTCO Corp. off West Broadway on April 24, 2008, when he saw two men loading scrap metal into a maroon van.

After investigating, Chubbuck charged the two men with theft and violation of the conditions of release. Chubbuck and one of the business’s owners, Scott Smith, estimated the two men were in the middle of stealing $300 worth of metal.

Smith and his brother Alan, a co-owner of the business, praised Chubbuck and Lincoln police for their efforts. The 21-year-old company, which helps power plants design, build, repair and install the equipment they depend on, had been burglarized about a half-dozen times over the previous six months, Scott Smith said.

Chubbuck also helped locate a missing 6-year-old girl in May 2008 and was the lead investigator in the probe of a local couple who had passed bad checks in at least seven Penobscot County towns in March 2009.

Chubbuck is searching for a new job, and Goodwin has said she hopes to begin looking for his replacement within a few weeks. Chubbuck’s slot on the police roster will be filled by current and reserve officers working overtime, she said.

Lincoln also has launched a second search for a new police chief to replace William Flagg, a Milford resident who resigned Aug. 25 to take a full-time but temporary position with the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department, his former department, as a patrol officer. He has said he hopes eventually to secure a teaching position in law enforcement.

Lincoln’s first chief search drew only six candidates, Goodwin said.

A former state police officer, Fire Chief Phil Dawson is filling in for Flagg.

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