The Manchester Fire Department building at 37 Readfield Road. Jessica Lowell/Kennebec Journal

The Manchester fire chief is accused of impersonating a law enforcement official while using a town-owned vehicle.

Manchester Fire Chief Francis R. Wozniak at an automobile crash Aug. 6, 2019, on Route 201 in Hallowell. Wozniak, now 42, has been summoned on a charge of falsely pretending to be a public servant and engaging in conduct in that capacity with the intent to deceive, in Hallowell. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal file

Francis R. Wozniak, 42, was recently issued a summons by the Hallowell Police Department on charges of falsely pretending to be a public servant and engaging in conduct in that capacity with the intent to deceive.

This is not the first time the Manchester fire chief has been in trouble with the law. Four years ago, Wozniak was arrested for drunken driving in Portland. He later pleaded guilty.

Hallowell police Chief Christopher Lewis said Thursday in a statement to the news media that the impersonation charges stem from an ongoing investigation that began in February.

Hallowell police Sgt. Christopher Giles said Wozniak told several people he was a “constable,” and represented himself as a constable to get a service that is only available to law enforcement when he sought to have a light bar, including blue flashing lights, on a municipal pickup truck he drove.

Blue lights are reserved for law enforcement use, and Giles said Wozniak used the blue lights when responding to a fire call earlier this year.


When his investigation began earlier this year, Giles said Wozniak was not enrolled in the state’s law enforcement academy and not a constable.

Lewis asked that anyone having any similar occurrences of someone appearing to impersonate a public servant in or around Hallowell email Giles at

Wozniak could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Debora Southiere, Manchester’s town manager, said Wozniak told her he had been summoned on the charge in Hallowell, and said members of the Manchester Board of Selectmen had been informed.

Wozniak remains on the job as fire chief, a position he has held full time since residents narrowly voted at the 2019 Manchester annual town meeting to make it a full-time job.

Asked if the town is considering disciplinary action in response to the charge against Wozniak, Southiere said Thursday she was investigating the matter and did not “have an answer for that right now.”


Southiere said Manchester officials were aware Wozniak was having a “package” of emergency lights installed on the town-owned pickup truck he is allowed to use, including on trips out of town when he is performing duties for the town related to his job. She said they were also aware the lights included red and white lights, which are typically used by fire and rescue vehicles, and blue lights, typically used by police, because officials had been discussing possibly having a town constable.

Manchester does not have a town constable who would act as a law enforcement officer. Southeire said town officials have discussed having a constable position in Manchester, but have not created the position due to a lack of funding. The town, which has a population of about 2,500, generally receives law enforcement coverage through the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

“We were discussing the fact we might bring on a constable — not necessarily him (Wozniak),” she said. “So that pickup would have been available for a constable, should we bring one on.”

She said the truck is now available to Wozniak and other town employees who might need to use it, though he is the primary user of the vehicle.

Southiere said her understanding is the lights, purchased around the beginning of the year, can be programmed to flash red or blue.

Lewis noted in his statement to the news media, “It is no defense to prosecution (of the crime of impersonating a public servant) that the office the person pretended to hold did not in fact exist.”


Maine law requires constables be appointed for terms of not more than a year, and if they are, they can have all the powers of a police officer within the municipality where they are a constable. They must undergo training in law enforcement to have the power to make arrests or carry a firearm while on duty.

Maine Criminal Justice Academy officials did not fulfill a request for information Thursday on whether Wozniak is certified as a law enforcement officer or has received training at the academy in Vassalboro.

Wozniak is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 5 on the charge of impersonating a public official. The charge is a Class E offense, the least severe category of crime in Maine, punishable by up to six months in jail.

Wozniak was arrested in 2020 in Portland on a charge of operating under the influence after police said the vehicle he was driving was observed operating at night without its headlights on. Portland police said Wozniak had a handgun in his vehicle when stopped by officers, but his possessing the gun did not violate the law.

Wozniak did not lose his driver’s license or his job as Manchester’s fire chief due to the 2020 arrest. He was also not the subject of disciplinary action by the town.

In 2022, Wozniak pleaded guilty to operating under the influence for that incident, as part of a deferred disposition agreement with state prosecutors.

Under the terms of the agreement, which Wozniak met, the charge was dismissed after he complied with conditions placed upon him for a year, including that he perform 20 hours of community service.

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