Washington County deputy’s job to be terminated

Posted Feb. 19, 2010, at 9:28 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — After a weeklong internal investigation, Washington County Sheriff Donnie Smith announced Friday that rookie Deputy Scott Francis, 33, of Calais will have his job terminated for conduct unbecoming an officer.

Francis had been placed on suspension last week after he was served with a temporary protection from abuse order. The order prohibited him from carrying a weapon, and that fact triggered an internal investigation.

Francis had been a county deputy for five months, Smith said. He had worked as a game warden at Indian Township before joining the county.

Smith said Friday that because the internal investigation is not public pending possible appeals by Francis, he could not reveal any details regarding what it uncovered or the reason he recommended that Francis’ job be terminated.

He did say, however, that the investigation “revealed details that were not made known to us in the background investigation when Scott Francis was originally hired.” He said these details, and the fact that they were not provided during the hiring process, were “very troubling.”

Smith said the investigation was triggered by the protection order, but the termination recommendation was rooted in the new information discovered during the internal investigation.

“These were policy violations, and I felt they were inappropriate,” Smith said.

The sheriff said he has revoked Francis’ deputy sheriff’s commission, but it will be up to the county commissioners to terminate his job formally. The commissioners will meet on March 8.

Meanwhile, Smith said, the temporary protection order against Francis remains in place and a final hearing has been set for March to determine whether the temporary order will be dismissed or become a permanent order.

Francis could not be reached for comment Friday.

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