Paul Donovan

SALEM, N.H. — An ongoing investigation of the Salem Police Department spearheaded by the New Hampshire Attorney General's office is now honing in on former Chief Paul Donovan.

Donovan has been retired since Dec. 31, after he signed an agreement with the town to retire early following a controversial audit of his department. The audit called into question departmental practices and culture. 

Donovan has since focused on campaigning for a one-year term on the Board of Selectmen.

Assistant Attorney General Geoffrey Ward penned a letter to Salem Town Manager Chris Dillon and Civilian Administrator Brian Pattullo on March 7 informing them of the investigation.

A Department of Justice spokesperson sent the letter to The Eagle-Tribune Monday evening, the day before the election.

Donovan is the fourth member of the department in the last several months to be the subject of AG investigations. The others are Deputy Chief Rob Morin, Capt. Mike Wagner and Sgt. Michael Verrocchi. Those three are on paid administrative leave pending the outcomes of their investigations. 

Ward's letters to the town are all similar and lack details of the cases.

"Because this investigation is active and ongoing I am unable to provide you with any additional information at this time concerning the nature of the criminal investigation," the letters read.

Donovan said he learned of the investigation from the media, not the Attorney General's office.

"I have not been contacted by them directly, so I don't know the nature of the inquiry," he said. "I intend to reach out to the AG's office immediately to learn about their inquiry and to cooperate with them in any way reasonable."

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