Fryeburg investigating police party tip

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

FRYEBURG — The town is investigating an anonymous letter sent Monday along with two photographic images to the Bridgton News alleging that at least two uniformed police officers were present at a party where teenagers were drinking beer confiscated by the department over the summer.

“There will be an investigation,” said Town Manager Sharon Jackson, after the News e-mailed over the poor-quality, grainy images, mailed as copies on white copy paper. The accompanying typewritten letter, signed “Fryeburg Concerned Residents,” describes one photo as showing a town employee’s wife “dancing” on the hood of the Fryeburg Police Department’s pickup truck. The color image, taken at night, shows a smiling woman squatting on the hood of a reddish pickup with “Fryeburg Police” lettering on the passenger door. She has one hand resting on the pickup’s hood, while the other holds a blue can of beverage.

The second photo, in black and white, shows the same woman flanked by the two officers, whose names were given in the letter but are not being released by the News. The letter alleges that the two officers “allowed and encouraged” the teenagers who attended the party at 9 Oxen Pull Road to drink “all the beer they took for the summer for the party,” and that Fryeburg Police Chief Phil Weymouth had also given his blessing — “after he took Bud Light’s for himself.”

“Never happened,” Weymouth said Tuesday. He said he had no knowledge about the alleged party, but “I’m pretty good at what I do. And I’ll get to the bottom of it.” He said the photos give some credence to the possibility that “something occurred,” but that anonymous charges are hard to investigate and also “very disturbing” to him as a police officer. “They’re upsetting. In order for me as a police officer to do a proper investigation, I have to know who is behind what is being said.”

Weymouth said that disciplinary action may be taken if the charges in the letter prove valid, but that “We’re not there yet.” Jackson said she was unable to comment “because this is a personnel matter.”

Weymouth said Fryeburg PD has standard operating procedures for dealing with conduct violations and that such violations are taken seriously. “It doesn’t just hurt the officers, it embarrasses the community,” he said.

 

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