EAST KINGSTON — Police Chief Reid Simpson and Cpl. Mark Iannuccillo have been placed on paid administrative leave pending a multi-agency investigation after authorities say an inmate trusty allegedly broke into a police station evidence room when he was left alone at the police department for several hours.
Associate Attorney General Jane Young confirmed that a criminal investigation is now under way to determine whether any members of the police department could be held criminally liable for the incident that occurred May 11.
"We are looking at a comprehensive review of the department to see if anyone committed any type of criminal conduct," Young said Wednesday.
Members of the state Attorney General's Office have been at the police department this week investigating the incident.
"We had investigators (at the) scene yesterday and today to get an understanding of what transpired," Young said.
While Simpson and Iannuccillo were placed on leave, Young said that doesn't mean they are necessarily the "targets" of the investigation.
"We are looking for conduct on behalf of any law enforcement (officer)," she said.
The Rockingham County Attorney's Office and the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department also continue to investigate.
Selectmen have also hired Municipal Resources Inc. to manage and coordinate policing services, according to a press release from the town.
"Residents should feel assured that there will be no lapses in police coverage or services," the release said.
Authorities said the investigation began in May after Rockingham County jail inmate Jarred Brisbois allegedly broke into the evidence room and stole heroin, broke into an officer's locker, and drove a police cruiser while he was unsupervised on May 11.
Brisbois was a "trusty" from the jail who was at the police station to wash police cruisers and perform other maintenance work. Brisbois was one of several inmates who participate in the jail's trusty program that allows trusted low-risk inmates to spend part of their day working at the county complex and several local police departments while under supervision.
Brisbois has not been charged in the break-in.
Investigators say the incident occurred when Brisbois was left alone at the police station while an officer was on patrol.
Deputy Rockingham County Tom Reid has said Brisbois broke into the evidence room where he ingested heroin and smoked marijuana before he was transported back to the jail under the influence.
Brisbois also allegedly smuggled heroin and a hypodermic syringe into the jail and shared the drug with other inmates, according to Reid.
Brisbois is suspected of breaking into an officer's locker as well. The locker contained an officer's duty belt with a gun, Taser, and handcuffs. Nothing is believed to have been stolen from the locker.
Authorities also believe Brisbois drove a police cruiser, but they're not sure where he went and for how long.