FARMINGTON — Franklin County Deputy Christopher Chase has entered into a consent agreement with state law enforcement regulators that allows him to continue police work in Maine.
He agreed to follow conditions in the agreement, which is in effect until May 1, 2012.
Chase, of Wilton, signed the agreement with the Board of Trustees of the Maine Criminal Justice Academy on June 6. The board initiated an investigation after Chase was charged with operating under the influence on Nov. 21, 2008, in Wilton, which later resulted in a driving to endanger conviction.
Chase was off-duty at the time of the traffic stop.
Franklin County Sheriff Dennis Pike supported Chase’s return to the department after the criminal-charge portion of the case was resolved in court. He also made his recommendation to academy trustees.
Chase pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of driving to endanger in a plea agreement with the state on March 20 in a Farmington court. He paid a $575 fine and served a 30-day loss of driver’s license in conjunction with a Bureau of Motor Vehicle administrative license suspension. The latter suspension for not taking a Breathalyzer test was 275 days.
Chase had served 40 days of it before the motor vehicle hearing officer terminated the remainder, after a Wilton police officer did not enter the hearing room on time. That officer had been at the hearing building for a prior hearing and stepped outside, believing the hearing didn’t start until 11:15 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. on March 19, Wilton police Chief Dennis Brown said. The officer met with another officer in the parking lot to prepare for the hearing and returned to the building at 11:07 a.m. and the hearing room was locked, Wilton Chief Dennis Brown said. It was a miscommunication, a mistake and not intentionally done, he said. Corrective measures were taken to prevent it from reoccurring, he said.
According to the consent agreement with the academy board, the underlying conduct provided a basis for which Chase’s Certificate of Eligibility could have been suspended or revoked.
The parties agreed that public trust, professional demeanor, and a law enforcement officer’s ability and fitness to discharge the duties owed to the general public are crucial components of the criminal justice systems, and the conduct of Chase that led to his arrest and conviction has raised issues relating to the public trust and the public perception of the law enforcement profession and Chase’s ability or fitness to discharge the duties owed to the general public, the agreement states.
In signing the document, Chase agreed to the following:
*Make a presentation as part of the delivery of ethics instruction during two sessions, to the Basic Law Enforcement Training Program at the academy.
*Continue personal counseling he has already undertaken of his own volition and to undertake the professional services and/or treatment directed by the counselor to the satisfaction of the sheriff.
*Surrender his certifications immediately if he engages in disqualifying conduct or there are any criminal charges docketed against him during the three-year agreement in state or federal court that would form the basis for the suspension or revocation. A conference will be held on the matter to decide action to be taken.
The board agreed that in this particular case there were extenuating circumstances, academy Executive Director John Rogers said earlier this month.
Chase was shot in the line of duty while responding to a domestic violence call in Winslow in 2005. His bulletproof vest stopped the bullet just below his throat.
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