LISBON – Allegations of illegal activity by Police Chief David Brooks and the Police Department are unfounded, according to a letter from the state Attorney General’s Office read at Tuesday night’s Town Council meeting.

Brooks called for Councilor Roger Cote’s removal from office and said the unfounded allegations “put the town at risk of potential lawsuit.”

Among the allegations by Cote and School Committee member Janice Comber were giving protection and free passage to drug runners and dealers, notifying drug dealers of searches by drug-sniffing dogs in schools, dealing drugs from the Police Department’s back door and Brooks “skimming off the top of drug money profits,” Brooks read from the AG’s report signed by Brian MacMaster, director of investigations for the Office of the Attorney General.

Cote and a group named Concerned Citizens of Lisbon questioned the size and expense of Lisbon’s Police Department and publicly stated its discontent through an online blog called the Lisbon Reporter, Brooks said, citing copies of the correspondence from the group.

No members of the group were at Tuesday’s meeting, except Cote.

Brooks said when he first heard statements about his department and himself, he contacted the Attorney General’s Office.

“I called the AG’s office to investigate me, our office and our entire department, because this made me sick,” Brooks said. “I’ve lived with this for a number of months, even though the investigation concluded in November.”

According to the AG’s report, Cote told the AG’s office in an interview that the source of his information about illegal police activities was “hearsay and circumstantial information.”

Town Manager Stephen Eldridge, who read the AG’s letter at the meeting, said, “Not once have any of these (accusers) come to my office and asked if this information was true, and not once did any of them approach our chief and talk to him and ask him if these accusations are true.”

One after the other, people approached the podium to speak to the council, and directly to Cote.

“I’ve lived in this town many years,” Erlene Miller said. “I have never been so appalled in my life.”

Bruce Coffin asked Cote if he thought what was said was funny, saying he had watched Cote smirk and smile the entire time Brooks was speaking.

Cote responded that he initially didn’t want to run for Town Council but did so after much urging from other people. He said he wanted change and the 2,400 people who voted for him did, too.

“There’s a lot of people, a lot more than is in this room, that feels and has seen the same things that I have, and I will be getting into a lot more of this in the future,” Cote said.

Few people were aware of the allegations or the investigation outside of the town manager’s office, the Police Department and the Attorney General’s office.

“This was a surprise to almost all of us on the council,” Councilor Mike Bowie said.

The council plans to schedule a public hearing on the request for Cote’s removal.


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