Investigation of Bar Harbor police chief who was placed on leave completed

Posted Jan. 21, 2014, at 6:18 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 22, 2014, at 4 p.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — According to the local police chief, an investigation of an incident that led to his placement on paid administrative leave has been completed, and the accompanying report has been handed over to the town.

Nate Young, who has been on leave since Oct. 1, said Tuesday that he does not know when Town Manager Dana Reed may act upon information in the report.

“There’s still been no decision,” Young said. “It’s been a long time. I’ve been in a holding pattern [for almost four months].”

Young said he and his attorney, Gregg Frame of Portland, were given copies of the report earlier this month, and they dispute some of the information it contains. Young declined to describe information in the report or to provide a copy of any portion of the report to the Bangor Daily News.

The chief did say that if Reed makes a decision to terminate him, he will appeal the decision to the elected town council and request a public hearing with the seven-member panel. Under Maine law, a personnel hearing is considered confidential and not open to the public unless the person who is the subject of the hearing requests it be held in public session.

Citing the town’s personnel policy, Reed has declined to say why he placed Young on leave. He has said that the investigation was being conducted by Jon Goodman, a lawyer and former internal investigator for the Portland Police Department, on behalf of Bar Harbor’s legal counsel, the law firm of Bernstein Shur.

Attempts on Tuesday to contact Reed for comment on Young’s status were unsuccessful, as were separate attempts to contact Frame.

Young has disclosed that his situation is a result of a Sept. 25 incident in the local village of Town Hill. Young has said he was parked in his pickup truck at a local business when two officers in his department came to check on his well-being. He said someone had reported to police that someone appeared to be slumped over the steering wheel of the truck. Young denies he had been drinking.

Young said he had a brief exchange with the officers when they arrived and then, after they departed, he drove home. Young, who has acknowledged that since the incident he has received treatment out of state for alcoholism, says he was contemplating some personal problems that night when one officer approached his truck. He said he was not in a mood to have a conversation about what was on his mind.

Young said the incident later was described in an anonymous letter sent to Reed, who then placed Young on leave. While Young has been on leave, the police department has been overseen by Mount Desert Police Chief James Willis, who has been splitting his time between the two towns.

Young said he has hired his own investigator, former Maine State Police detective Steve Pickering, to look into the incident, but Pickering has been denied permission to question witnesses or other members of the police department. He said he expects at some point to have the chance to respond officially to the allegations made against him.

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