Hearing on police officer’s firing set at Mechanic Falls

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MECHANIC FALLS — The Town Council will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6, to consider police officer James Daigle’s appeal of a decision to terminate his employment.

With the authorization of Town Manager John Hawley, Daigle was fired by police Chief Jeff Goss on Sept. 15 after Daigle’s fourth accident with a police cruiser in two years.

He was hired Nov. 5, 2012.

The first accident occurred Dec. 12, 2012, when the cruiser struck a lamppost base at the entrance to Oxford Casino on Route 26 in Oxford. Damage to the police cruiser was $1,263. There was no personal injury.

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The second accident occurred Aug. 9, 2013, when Daigle drove off a steep embankment at the former Marcal Mill property at 32 Lewiston St. The cruiser had $1,338 worth of damage. There was no personal injury.

The third accident occurred April 2 when the cruiser struck the side of a bridge on Poland Corner Road. Damage was $1,445 to the cruiser. There was no personal injury.

The fourth accident occurred Sept. 10 when the cruiser struck a utility pole at Lewiston Street and Androscoggin Avenue. Damage to the vehicle is estimated at $2,669. There was no personal injury.

Daigle admitted fault in all four accidents and said the first, third and fourth accidents resulted from distracted driving or driver inattention.

In his first appeal of the second accident, Daigle admitted fault and said the accident was the result of a situation that heightened his emotions and adrenaline and also because he was unfamiliar with the area.

Hawley dismissed Daigle’s second accident for those reasons.

Daigle was given the option to have his appeal to the Town Council conducted in executive session or before the public. He chose the public hearing, which allows him to present character witnesses.

Following the hearing, the council may go into executive session but must make a public vote whether to confirm or override Hawley’s decision to terminate Daigle’s employment.

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