By Douglas Moser
---- — A former Methuen police chief is overseeing a small New Hampshire police department while its chief is on paid leave pending an investigation into how a county inmate broke into an evidence room and stole drugs.
Former Chief Bruce A. MacDougall, who spent 27 years with Methuen Police, including nine as chief, started on Aug. 6 as interim police manager of the East Kingston, N.H., police department.
“An interim manager has all power and responsibilities of a police chief, except I’m not a sworn officer, so I do not make arrests,” MacDougall said.
He said he expects to remain in that position until the current investigation is resolved or until town leaders make new arrangements for management of the department.
Along with management duties, MacDougall said he is “looking at all systems within the police department and making sure everything is working the best I can.”
MacDougall is a senior consultant with Municipal Resources, Inc., a municipal consultancy in Meredith, N.H. He retired from the Methuen Police Department in 2002.
East Kingston Selectman Ron Morales said MacDougall was appointed because of his expertise. “He’s answering questions they may have, and doing an audit of our best practices,” he said.
According to news reports, New Hampshire authorities say a Rockingham County jail inmate “trusty” named Jarred Brisbois broke into an East Kingston police evidence room, consumed heroin and marijuana, drove a police cruiser, and smuggled heroin and a hypodermic syringe back to jail to share with another inmate after he was left alone at the station for several hours on May 11.
East Kingston Police Chief Reid Simpson and Cpl. Mark Iannuccillo were placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a multi-agency investigation.
The “trusty” program allows low-risk inmates to work at the county complex and local police stations washing police cruisers and performing other maintenance work.
Brisbois also is suspected of breaking into an officer’s locker, which contained an officer’s duty belt equipped with a gun, Taser and handcuffs. Nothing is believed to have been taken from the locker.
Jane Young, of the New Hampshire Attorney General’s criminal division, said the investigation is ongoing.
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