Oxford County rescinds firing of deputy, allows him to resign

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PARIS — Oxford County commissioners have voted unanimously to accept the resignation of Deputy Stephen Witham from the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office.

Oxford County Deputy Stephen Witham posed in November 2017 with his K-9 Samson. County commissioners rescinded their firing of Witham last week and allowed him to resign. (Facebook photo)

The decision came after a brief executive session Sept. 13.

County Administrator Tom Winsor said Witham was initially fired in July by Sheriff James Theriault following an internal probe into a 2016 incident in which the deputy is alleged to have shot off the tip of his finger with his service weapon after spending most of St. Patrick’s Day drinking while off-duty.

Theriault said the incident was never fully substantiated at the time, because former Sheriff Wayne Gallant failed to order his staff to do the proper follow-up and internal investigation.

“The administration at that time never did any reports or anything to that effect and the doctor said it didn’t look like it was a gunshot wound, but we have witnesses that heard the shot and he admitted to the weapon going off,” Theriault said in July.

A spokesman for the labor union that represents the deputy, however, disputed the allegations and said they planned to file a grievance and take the firing to arbitration, if necessary.

However, Winsor said the commissioners decided to rescind Witham’s termination and allow him to submit a letter of resignation instead.

Witham started his law enforcement career with the Paris Police Department and had been with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office since 2014. He received his K-9 certification in November.

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