Saco officials have launched an investigation into allegations of misconduct against the city’s police chief and his deputy chief, the city administrator said Monday

Police Chief Raynald Demers and Deputy Chief Corey Huntress were placed on paid administrative leave Friday for reasons that have not been publicly disclosed. City Administrator Kevin Sutherland said Monday that a third party has been brought in to conduct a two-week investigation.

Sutherland notified city employees in a letter Friday of his decision to place the chief and deputy chief on paid leave. The letter, which was obtained by News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ), did not explain why the men were placed on leave, but did say the city would hire a “third-party investigator” who would be available to talk to employees about their concerns.

The decision to place Demers and Huntress on leave has mystified residents, said Mark Johnston, a former mayor who owns a business on Main Street.

“People wonder what’s going on,” he said.

Johnston believes Sutherland took the “necessary action” by placing the chief and deputy on chief to investigate the allegations. But Johnston also said he knows Demers as a “straight shooter” and Huntress as an experienced officer who “doesn’t play games.”

On Monday, Sutherland said in a statement that the city “is committed to conducting careful and thorough investigations” of any claims of misconduct.

“Administrative leave is used to protect the investigation and all of our employees. This is a process used in many workplaces – it just happens to be more noticeable when used in the public sector,” Sutherland said in the statement. “Please understand that due to the sensitive nature of the process, this investigation will be done in a manner that protects the privacy of all involved to the greatest extent possible.”

In Friday’s letter, Sutherland also told employees that if they receive calls about the situation from the public or media, they should be aware “this is a confidential personnel matter and it is our policy that it remains confidential.”

Mayor Marston Lovell said Saturday that while he could confirm Demers and Huntress were on leave, he could provide no further information because it is a personnel issue. The City Council is scheduled to discuss the situation in an executive session next Monday.

Deputy Chief Jack Clements, nominally the department’s third in command, is serving as acting police chief.

Demers was appointed as police chief in December 2016 after the previous chief retired. Demers had been deputy chief of operations for the previous six years and has worked for the city for more than 30 years.

When Demers was appointed police chief, Sutherland praised him for his striving for “transparency, fairness and honesty” and said Demers “holds himself to the highest standard of professionalism and ethics.”

“He is well-respected within the community and has a strong connection to its community leaders – a testimony shown in part by the significant number of letters of support my office received,” Sutherland said of Demers in late 2016.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: grahamgillian


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.