Police chief to address cop voting issue

Posted Nov. 01, 2010, at 10:29 a.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Police Chief Ron Gastia will hold a press conference this morning to address an incident from last week in which one of his officers was denied his right to vote for refusing to turn over his weapon.

Officer James Dearing, who tried to vote while on duty last Friday, was told by election warden Wayne Mallar that he would have to relinquish his firearm first. Mallar maintained that he was empowered to make determinations about safety at the polling place.

Dearing refused to turn over the gun and did not vote.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said there is no state law that says public safety officers must relinquish their weapons under such circumstances.

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