DIXFIELD — A veteran police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave while an outside agency conducts an investigation over a “serious matter,” Dixfield Town Manager Dustin Starbuck said Thursday.

Dixfield Police Officer Anne Simmons-Edmunds. Rumford Falls Times file photo

Starbuck said Dixfield Police officer Anne Simmons-Edmunds was placed on leave May 22 pending an investigation.

Regarding the reason for the action, Starbuck said, “I can’t say anything at this time. All I can say is it was over a serious matter and there’s an investigation.”

Starbuck did acknowledge this action followed an accusation received by the town regarding Simmons-Edmunds.

“I do not have a timeline when the investigation will be complete, but I hope it is soon,” noted Starbuck.

He said the four-person police department is currently operating with two full-time officers, Chief Aaron Mick and Patrolman Brandon Kelly, with the remaining shifts filled by reserves.

Simmons-Edmunds graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in 2011, when she was 45 years old, after which she became a full time officer with the Dixfield Police Department. For the two years prior to graduation, Simmons-Edmunds worked as a reserve officer there.

According to Sun Journal records, Simmons-Edmunds began working alongside law enforcement in 1989 as an animal control officer in Scarborough. From there, she worked for various departments as a reserve officer, including Scarborough and Rumford police departments.

In 2011, she helped create a program called Operation Sunshine while a reserve officer in Dixfield. The goal of the program is to keep track of elderly residents who may not have any family or anyone nearby to help them out.

In late 2016, Simmons-Edmunds and Dixfield police Chief Jefferey Howe — the only two full-time officers on the Dixfield Police Department — were both placed on paid administrative leave because of “personnel issues,” according to Sun Journal records.

At the time, a spokesman for the union representing Simmons-Edmunds said the investigation was about the chief’s use of time.

The Oxford County Sheriff’s Department took over patrol and policing duties in Dixfield for about a month, and all department property, including patrol cars, computers, firearms and ammunition, were seized and moved by the sheriff’s department to “prevent any vandalism” while the Dixfield police station was shut down.

Both officers were returned to duty and, last year, Howe left the Dixfield department to work for the sheriff’s department.

A resident of Byron and a former selectmen there, Simmons-Edmunds was the subject of an unsuccessful recall vote in 2013 after she pushed voters to adopt a mandatory firearms possession article at the annual Town Meeting. That article failed.

The recall petition was submitted by a resident who felt Simmons-Edmunds had subjected residents of the town to ridicule, embarrassment and disrepute in her support of the firearms article, failed to inform voters of a state law that would have voided the firearm ordinance, if passed, and mislead voters regarding a newspaper story about her by telling them she was misquoted.

In 2018, Simmons-Edmunds resigned her position saying she had become too busy to continue on the board. She had been on the board since 2008.


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