Stories about John Morris


Maine’s crime rate drops, but pharmacy robberies, drug-affected births skyrocket

By Alex Barber on May 29, 2013, at 7:23 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Overall crime in the state dropped last year for the first time since 2009, according to a report released Wednesday by the Maine Department of Public Safety. But the state’s top police official tempered the good news by adding that drugs remain a big problem in Maine …
Janet Mills

Legislative panel lines up week of hearings on Maine gun bills

By Scott Thistle on April 07, 2013, at 6:53 a.m.
AUGUSTA — State lawmakers Friday were prepping themselves for a round of hearings, debates and decisions on proposed changes to Maine’s gun laws. In an informational session, the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee heard from several experts on the state’s gun laws, including Maine Attorney General Janet Mills. …
Dr. Ben Zolper

Opiate abuse complicates doctors’ efforts to treat pain

By Tom Walsh on July 05, 2012, at 3:41 p.m.
The art and science of managing pain has challenged practitioners of both traditional and alternative medicine for centuries. In Maine, the widespread abuse of opiate-based drugs used to treat pain has complicated health care providers’ efforts. It’s a problem that has evolved into a public health and public safety issue. …
Maine's Public Safety Commissioner John E. Morris speaks with Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, in February 2011 at the state house in Augusta.

Prescription drug abuse blamed for increase in Maine crime

By Nok-Noi Ricker on June 19, 2012, at 10:37 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Mainers addicted to drugs — diverted prescription drugs in particular — are breaking the law to feed their addiction and have caused a troubling increase in the state’s crime rate, Public Safety Commissioner John E. Morris said Tuesday. “Drugs are driving the problem,” the commissioner said in …

Transportation Committee split about using Highway Fund money for Maine State Police

By Mal Leary on April 08, 2012, at 4:03 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The immediate issue was funding $36,000 from the Highway Fund for part of the cost of a forensic chemist in the state police crime lab, but it triggered a far broader debate in the Legislature’s Transportation Committee over use of the fund for purposes outside of roads …

Agreement on LePage’s supplemental budget still elusive

By Mal Leary on April 01, 2012, at 2:59 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Members of the Appropriations Committee met Friday into the night and all day Saturday approving some spending items but still have several major budget issues to resolve in the governor’s supplemental budget, from eliminating income taxes on pensions to rewriting the general assistance laws to reduce costs. …

Legislative panel endorses bill to allow police to raise funds for their own

By Dawn Gagnon on March 29, 2012, at 9:59 p.m.
BANGOR | Proposed legislation that aims to allow Maine law enforcement officers to donate money in support of their own received a unanimous ought-to-pass vote this week from members of the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Sponsored by Rep. Andre Cushing, R-Hampden, LD 1900 — An Act …
Michael Sefton (right), a Massachusetts police officer, and Brian Gagan, (left), a former Scarborough and Westbrook police officer, discuss the psychological autopsy of Steven Lake, who gunned down his estranged wife, Amy, and their two children before turning the gun on himself in June.

Shooting of Dexter family brings bipartisan focus to domestic violence bail decisions

By John Christie, ©Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting on Dec. 26, 2011, at 2:08 p.m.
The deaths of Amy, Monica and Coty Lake at the hands of husband and father Steven Lake may be the tragedy that brings major reform to how the criminal justice system handles dangerous domestic violence cases. The June 13 triple murder-suicide is becoming a rallying point for changes in the …

Chiefs worry about waiting for fire investigations

By Christopher Cousins on Oct. 18, 2011, at 5:33 p.m.
BANGOR | The state fire marshal says a month-old change in his office’s policy regarding fire investigations has had little effect on which fires are reviewed, though municipal fire chiefs said they are leery about the impact of the change over time. Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Morris …
John Morris (right) with Maj. Gen. John Libby

Maine should have just two emergency call centers, top cop says

By Mal Leary on Oct. 05, 2011, at 6:06 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Maine has 26 public safety answering points. Public Safety Commissioner John Morris believes that can be reduced to just two for the entire state. Others are not convinced. Morris suggests fewer answering points will yield savings, possibly enough to fully fund the two remaining call centers. But …
This is a picture of confiscated bath salts, a synthetic drug that became illegal in Maine in July, collected recently by Bangor Police Department. The lab-made drug first surfaced in the Bangor area in February and has resulted in a number of users displaying paranoid and erratic behaviors. The street name for bath salts in Bangor is "Monkey Dust."

Legislature gears up for fight over bath salts

By Mal Leary on Aug. 30, 2011, at 7:14 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The legislation has not been formally introduced, but the battle over Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal increasing the penalties for possessing and trafficking in bath salts got under way Tuesday as the Appropriations Committee considered the process they use to estimate the costs of legislation. “I can tell …

LePage working with legislators on emergency bath salts bill

By Eric Russell on Aug. 18, 2011, at 11:53 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage is working with legislators to craft emergency legislation for consideration next month that would further address the growing bath salts epidemic in Maine. Adrienne Bennett, the governor’s spokeswoman, could not provide details of the bill because it’s not complete, but she confirmed Thursday that …

‘Bath salts’ ban takes effect; state’s top cop seeks to halt drug’s march into Maine

By Mal Leary, Capitol News Service on July 06, 2011, at 4:54 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage signed emergency legislation Wednesday banning a group of synthetic hallucinogens that have been marketed as “bath salts” but are among the most dangerous drugs that Maine Public Safety Commissioner John Morris says he has seen. “It is now contraband and law enforcement can seize …

Drug-related crimes increased last year in Maine

By Eric Russell on May 25, 2011, at 11:37 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Maine’s public safety commissioner said the LePage administration already has taken steps to address continued increases in property crimes that are directly related to drug addiction, but he said police alone cannot solve the problem. John Morris, who has been on the job only for a few …

Maine crime rate rises 3.6 percent in 2010

The Associated Press on May 25, 2011, at 10:28 a.m.
AUGUSTA | The Maine Department of Public Safety says crime in the state increased by 3.6 percent last year, as drug abuse pushed up the incidence of robberies and thefts. However, Wednesday’s newly released statistics show a decrease in domestic violence for the third consecutive year. Public Safety Commissioner …
Patrick Fleming

Retiring state police chief tapped to head gambling control board

By Dawn Gagnon on April 29, 2011, at 7:56 p.m.
AUGUSTA | On Sunday, Col. Patrick Fleming of Fairfield will officially retire from a 27-year career with the Maine State Police. On Monday, he will begin his new job as executive director of the state’s Gambling Control Board. Fleming was nominated for the post by Public Safety Commissioner John …
John Morris (right) listens at a State House news conference in Augusta, Maine, on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. Paul LePage nominated Morris to be the commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Maj. Gen. John Libby (left) will stay on as commissioner of the Department of Defense. LePage said he will choose 15 Cabinet appointments by the beginning of next year.

LePage asks Libby to stay with Defense, former Waterville police chief to take Public Safety post

By Kevin Miller on Dec. 08, 2010, at 2:17 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov.-elect Paul LePage offered a first glimpse into his inner circle on Wednesday, nominating Major Gen. John Libby and former Waterville Police Chief John Morris to head the departments handling public safety and security in his administration. LePage, a Republican, said that Libby has agreed to continue …

Ethics panel cracks down on attack ads

By Kevin Miller on Oct. 28, 2010, at 10:34 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The Maine Ethics Commission ruled Thursday that a national Republican group failed to promptly notify the state about $400,000 in campaign ads purchased for state Senate races. The Maine Democratic Party had filed a complaint with the commission alleging that the Republican State Leadership Committee may have …