Three suspended, McAllister serving as FPD interim chief
By Gail Geraghty
FRYEBURG — Lt. Mike McAllister was named Interim Police Chief last Thursday following the suspension last week of Police Chief Philip Weymouth and two reserve officers, Andrew Ward and Dale Stout, after allegations of their involvement with an underage drinking party came to light. All three have been placed on a paid suspension pending an investigation into the allegations, made anonymously via letters and photos submitted to The Bridgton News and The Conway Daily Sun.
Town Manager Sharon Jackson did not return phone calls made over several days after The News first reported the allegations in last week’s paper. McAllister said Tuesday that members of the Fryeburg Police Department, which has six full-time and 15 reserve officers, is holding up as well as it can with all of the media attention the department has received over the suspensions.
“We’re doing what we need to do,” said McAllister, a 25-year veteran of the department who also served as Interim Police Chief in between the departure of former Police Chief Wayne Brooking and arrival of Weymouth four years ago.
The anonymous letter, signed “Fryeburg Concerned Residents,” alleged that Ward and Stout attended the “annual drunken party” over Labor Day Weekend of Richard and Susan Parmenter at the 9 Oxen Pull Road home while they were in uniform. The letter says underage teenagers were drinking at the party, and that the officers “allowed and encouraged it.” The letter also alleges that Weymouth gave Richard Parmenter, an employee of the Fryeburg Road Department, “all the beer they took from the summer for the party, and he took Bud Light’s for himself.”
The letter includes two pictures, one of which is alleged to show Ward and Stout standing, in uniform, arm-in-arm with Susan Parmenter, who is holding a can in her hand. Behind the trio is a young man holding a can of Budweiser up high, as if giving a toast. The other photo allegedly shows Susan Parmenter “dancing on the (Fryeburg) Police Truck” with a can of beverage raised in her hand.
Prior to his suspension, Weymouth denied supplying the beer to The News, and said he was unaware of the allegations. But he promised to “get to the bottom of it,” and said his management style as chief is, “I deal with everything. I don’t sweep anything under the rug.”
He said any beer confiscated over the summer by police is kept secure as evidence and then disposed of by pouring the contents out at the town’s transfer station. The cans and bottles are then recycled, he said. “After the dumping (of the alcohol container’s contents), people say it stinks” at the transfer station, he added.
Jackson has hired the Portland law firm Troubh and Heisler to investigate the allegations, and has not given a timetable for when the investigation will be completed. She has said that no highway department employees have been suspended.
McAllister confirmed that police were called in August to break up an alleged underage drinking party on Oxen Pull Road allegedly hosted by Maggie McConkey, 18, who was arrested. He said the party drew a crowd of around 100 people, and confirmed that around 36 cars were towed from the scene.