A Maine State Police sergeant accused of drunken driving has asked his law enforcement colleagues not to retaliate against other officers in the department for arresting him.
Sgt. Robin Parker of Sanford, an instructor at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, was arrested Dec. 18 on the Maine Turnpike near the New Gloucester toll plaza, according to a previous report in the Bangor Daily News. Parker is on paid administrative leave. Last week, Parker sent a mass email to members of the law enforcement community taking responsibility for the charge against him and asking his colleagues not to blame the officers involved in arresting him. Parker was not specific about what, if anything, has taken place.
“What I have done to my family, friends and our State Police family has saddened me deeply,” wrote Parker, according to a copy of his letter provided to the Bangor Daily News anonymously. “There is one other thing that has saddened me and that is what I’m hearing around the department. I understand that there are many that are very upset that I was processed by our own and perhaps not ‘treated differently.’ Although this anger may stem from a respect and appreciation for me as a person and Trooper, they are not healthy.”
Parker said the troopers involved in arresting him were the “professionals that we all strive to be.”
“I could tell throughout the process that they took no pleasure in doing what they had to do,” he wrote. “For them I want to apologize for putting them and their supervisor in that position. … Remember that I was the cause and I am responsible for my own actions.”
Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said Thursday that Parker will be on paid administrative leave until the conclusion of an investigation being run by state police Col. Robert Williams. Asked whether the conclusion of Williams’ investigation will await Parker’s impending court process, McCausland said he couldn’t provide a timetable. McCausland also would not comment on whether Parker’s email to colleagues during an open investigation was a violation of rules regarding the use of state-owned computers or email accounts.
McCausland said he would not give any further details about the case that were not already published this week by the Portland Press Herald. He said any decisions about Parker’s future with the department, including the validity of his law enforcement credentials and continuation of his position at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, will be decided after Williams’ investigation.
“I’m not going into any further details,” said McCausland, who added that Maine State Police administrators also will not answer further questions because of the open investigation.
John Rogers, director of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, said that pursuant to a decision made by Williams, Parker will not return to his post as an instructor. Parker occupied one of two “academy cadre supervisor” posts, one of which has traditionally been permanent and the other filled temporarily by other officers on a rotating basis. Parker was in the permanent supervisory position.
“The permanent position won’t be filled until the end result of the Robin Parker case,” said Rogers. “He will not be coming back as cadre supervisor. Col. Williams has made that decision.”
The Maine Criminal Justice Academy, through its board of trustees, is also a licensing board that provides credentials for a range of law enforcement officers in the state. Williams, according to the law, will submit his report to Rogers, who in turn will forward it to the trustees. What happens then could include no action, revocation of Parkers’ law enforcement certificate, a suspension of the certificate or a continuation of the certificate with certain conditions.
Rogers said operations at the academy were not affected by Parker’s arrest because the latest class of officers graduated during the prior week and the next one hasn’t started yet.
According to the Portland newspaper, Parker was stopped by Trooper Duane Doughty at about 8 p.m. after a motorist reported a car being driven erratically. Another trooper and Sgt. James Urquhart also went to the scene of the stop.
Parker, who has been employed by the Maine State Police for 17 years, pleaded in his email that the law enforcement community allow the investigation and court processes to run their course.
“Please allow this to pass with no more anger and resentment,” he wrote. “Show those involved and had to make difficult decisions that same love and compassion you have shown me.”