OXFORD HILLS — Small, rural police departments are rarely over-staffed and often understaffed. When an incident occurs, like officers discharging their weapons and officer-involved shootings, standard procedure is for the officers involved to go on administrative leave, turn in their weapons and wait.

The wait is for investigations into the incident either by the Maine Attorney General’s Office or the officer’s town/department, or both.

The incident Monday, May 6, involved more than 10 law enforcement personnel from five agencies when an individual assaulted Paris Police Chief Michael Dailey, stole his vehicle and weapon.

Oxford lost two to administrative leave including its chief. Paris lost its detective, Norway lost its detective and another officer, the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office lost four deputies and the state police lost two – a sergeant and a trooper.

According to Oxford Town Manager Adam Garland, who was a former police officer in Richmond, technically the employer puts the employee on administrative leave such as the Chief putting his staff on leave. In Oxford’s case, its chief – Chief R. Jack – was one of the two put on leave so the town did it. This, according to Jack, left the day shift wide open but, he said, “we were able to fill it for the next two weeks, then we will reassess.” In the chief’s absence, Cpt. Z. Bisson is in charge.

Aside from an investigation into what happened during the incident, which can be done by both town and AG, the department/town will also take into consideration the mental well being of its officers.


“Most of the time,” explained Garland, “municipalities will wait for either its own internal investigation or for the AG’s [investigation]. Usually they happen parallel to each other. Once the AG determines the use of force was justified the town will ensure its policy was followed and its officers are good to return to duty.

“More than likely [in this case] we will wait until the AG makes a determination.”

Norway Police Department, which also lost two day shift staff, is handling it the same as any staff shortage, said Chief Jeffrey Campbell.

“People may have to work extra shifts or cancel plans,” he said. “We want to make sure our officers who were involved have a chance to de-stress, decompress and process the event before they come back on duty.”

Oxford County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy James Urquhart lost four of his deputies – directly involved with the shooting – to administrative leave.

“These deputies were assigned to various divisions inside the sheriff’s office so their absences must be filled,” he explained. “The patrol division is filled with other deputies that volunteer or are forced in off-shift to cover the vacancies. One deputy involved was a detective that now leaves me with one detective…another…was a civil deputy utilized to serve civil process paperwork, that leaves me with one.”

Urquhart noted that if agreements are in place, other agencies such as the state police or surrounding agencies might provide mutual aid.

“There is definitely a hardship incurred by both the agency and the officers involved.”

Paris Police Department, which has two staff members on leave, did not return calls.

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