AMESBURY – The mayor’s office confirmed it is looking into anonymous complaints recently made against the Police Department.
Paul Fahey, chief of staff to Mayor Kassandra Gove, said the complaints were included in a letter dropped off at the mayor’s office in October and focus on two allegations, including one stemming from the conduct of a high-ranking officer while off duty.
Fahey and Deputy Police Chief Craig Bailey said the conduct was investigated internally and by an outside department and that the officer was cleared.
The second allegation involves alleged time skimming, Fahey said.
He declined to go into specifics about a time-skimming allegation in the department. But time skimming is a common term used to describe misusing company or municipal time. Examples of time skimming include falsifying time sheets and conducting personal business on company time.
Fahey said he asked police to look into the allegation and to report back to his office.
“It appears to be more of a process issue,” Fahey said.
While Bailey said the department is taking the allegations seriously and cooperating with the mayor’s office, he declined to comment on them.
“I don’t want to get into the specifics of it,” Bailey said.
Fahey’s announcement came about the same time The Daily News of Newburyport received an anonymous letter from people who claim to be Amesbury Police Department employees.
The anonymous letter appears to focus on the same two allegations brought to Fahey’s attention.
“We wanted to supply you with some insight into what is happening behind closed doors at the APD and how the current administration is running the department,” the letter begins.
The lengthy letter details instances of a high-ranking officer working paid traffic details while on the books as working a regular shift at the station, a situation the letter writers called “double dipping.” The same officer is accused of receiving preferential treatment after an alleged domestic violence incident in October.
“This information was sent to Mayor Gove’s office a few weeks ago, however, we are unsure if she is taking the information seriously,” reads the letter, dated Nov. 23.
The letter concludes by calling the department’s leaders “criminal and corrupt.”
In a separate statement, Bailey said the letter smacks of retaliation by disgruntled employees.
“Since Chief (William) Scholtz was appointed chief of police in 2017, we have focused on holding our officers accountable for their actions,” Bailey wrote in a statement to The Daily News. “Retaliatory anonymous letters such as the ones sent to your office are an unfortunate but expected result of this. The Amesbury Police Department’s mission is to encourage the community’s confidence and I thank Mayor Gove’s office in supporting this cause.”
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.