Sheriff’s criticism of MDEA chief unwarranted

Posted Dec. 31, 2010, at 8:19 p.m.

It is unfortunate the sheriff of Washington County recently chose to publicly attack the competence and credibility of MDEA Director Roy McKinney, a trusted and well-respected member of Maine’s law enforcement community. The Maine Chiefs of Police Association joins Public Safety Commissioner Anne Jordan and other law enforcement professionals in denouncing the manner and nature in which these accusations were made in a rambling midnight e-mail message to legislators and other officials.

With the documented drug problems and high incidence of substance abuse and addiction in Washington County, law enforcement leaders there should be striving for alliances, not publicly bashing people like Roy McKinney. As readers are sure to recognize, this is not the first time the sheriff has publicly condemned, without basis, top state law enforcement officials.

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency constitutes the statewide drug task force envisioned and created by the Legislature to carry out a statewide drug enforcement strategy. MDEA was created in 1987 to bring Maine’s municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies into a formal, collaborative approach to investigating drug crime. All investigative agents and supervisors of MDEA are assigned by cities, towns and counties to work together to address drug crime.

Roy McKinney has served as director of the statewide drug task force since 1997, after retiring from a successful and noted career with the Bangor Police Department. At the time of his retirement, he was the commander of the Criminal Investigation Division. When McKinney was originally appointed, MDEA had fallen on hard times because of damaging budget reductions. He worked tirelessly to bring the task force back to its full potential and has been very successful in that regard. Along the way, McKinney gained the highest of respect from those within the MDEA organization itself from Houlton to South Portland, Bath to Dover-Foxcroft, and points in between.

McKinney is a leader who exudes professionalism in all that he does, and he has a solid record of promoting a philosophy of doing the right thing all the time. He created and mandates ethics training for all MDEA staff, and he has assured that his supervisory staff is well-trained in performance management and leadership. MDEA, like every other law enforcement agency in the world, has to address performance and disciplinary issues from time to time, and McKinney has never shirked that duty.

MDEA is a highly effective and efficient organization. McKinney reorganized the task force to bring the most possible resources to bear for all areas of Maine. More than 40 municipal and county agencies have assigned law enforcement officers to the eight regional task forces, a testament to the cooperation and partnerships that MDEA and McKinney enjoy throughout Maine.

MDEA has consistently been a vocal promoter of the greatest possible communication, cooperation and collaboration among Maine law enforcement to confront drug trafficking and substance abuse issues. McKinney is a consummate professional. He is fair, courteous, and professional in his dealings with his agents and is highly respected throughout Maine and the nation.

A graduate of the FBI National Academy, McKinney serves on the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and is the past president of the National Alliance of State Drug Enforcement Agencies. He is on the executive board of the New England High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, and is a valued member of the International Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association. He also serves as an evaluator for state law enforcement agencies in the United States.

The Maine Chiefs of Police Association strongly supports the concept of a statewide drug enforcement strategy, and the manner in which the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has carried out that strategy under the leadership of McKinney. The association is firm in its belief that Roy McKinney is the right person in the right job, and that he in no way is deserving of such a personal attack on the basis of allegations and accusations of no merit.

Chief Edward Googins serves the South Portland Police Department and is president of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association.

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