ELLSWORTH, Maine — Former Pleasant Point Police Chief Joseph Barnes, 41, was indicted Thursday by a Hancock County grand jury for felony theft, the state Attorney General’s Office has confirmed.
Assistant Attorney General Leanne Robbins told WQDY News of Calais that Barnes was indicted on charges of theft by unauthorized taking and misuse of entrusted property.
The indictment, a copy of which was obtained by the Bangor Daily News, indicates that funds from the Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point were taken between April 2007 and May 2008. The amount is estimated to exceed $10,000.
Ralph E. Dana is now the Pleasant Point police chief.
Barnes, who served as a police officer for more than 20 years, was in his 20s when he was appointed police chief at Pleasant Point in 1992, the youngest on the reservation. In 2000, the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Waterville certified Barnes as a police chief. He was the first American Indian in the state to receive such certification.
A year ago, in January 2009, Barnes was hired as acting police chief at the Passamaquoddy Tribe’s Indian Township reservation while Chief Alex Nicholas attended an 11-week FBI training course.
At the time of his resignation from Pleasant Point 13 months ago, Barnes said he resigned for personal reasons.
“I had a lot of time to reflect on a lot of things,” he told the Bangor Daily News, “and just decided it was time.”
Barnes in 2006 received the Chief of Police of the Year Award from the National Native American Law Enforcement Association, the first for a Maine American Indian police chief. In 2000 Barnes, working with the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency, helped deal a blow to the prescription drug problem on the reservation when a covert operation led to the arrest of some 15 people. Three years later, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency presented Barnes and former tribal Investigator Robert Dore with the distinguished Maine Drug Task Force Service Award.
No details were available as to how the thefts alleged in last week’s indictment were accomplished.
Attempts to reach officials at the Pleasant Point Police Department Sunday were unsuccessful.
Robbins has indicated that an arraignment will be scheduled for Barnes at Washington County Superior Court in Machias.