Ex-Mass. police chief takes reins in East Kingston
EAST KINGSTON — A retired police chief from Methuen, Mass., is now managing the East Kingston Police Department as state and local authorities continue their investigation after an inmate trusty allegedly broke into the station's evidence room.
Bruce MacDougall has been named interim police manager of the department and began work on Aug. 6 after Police Chief Reid Simpson and Cpl. Mark Iannuccillo were placed on paid administrative leave.
MacDougall has been a police consultant for 11 years and now works for Municipal Resources Inc., the firm hired by the town to manage and oversee police operations in the wake of the break-in in May.
The state Attorney General's Office announced last week that it has launched a criminal investigation to determine whether any members of the department "committed any type of criminal conduct" following the incident, according to Associate Attorney Jane Young.
The initial investigation began with the Rockingham County Attorney's Office and the Rockingham County Sheriff's Department in May after they learned of the break-in.
He has not yet been charged, but authorities have said Rockingham County jail inmate Jarred Brisbois allegedly broke into the evidence room and stole drugs, broke into an officer's locker, and drove a police cruiser while he was left alone at the station for several hours on May 11.
Brisbois was a "trusty" from the jail who was at the police station to wash police cruisers and perform other work. He was participating in a program that allows trusted inmates to carry out maintenance work and other chores at the county complex and several local police departments while under supervision.
MacDougall said he isn't a sworn officer and doesn't have arrest powers but is managing the operation of the department.
"I've been trying to touch base with all of the officers and make sure they understand what's going on and we continue to focus on public safety in the community," he said Monday.
MacDougall said he's been "getting up to speed" on how the department runs and will recommend changes if he sees anything that needs to be "modified."
MacDougall said he's not sure how long he'll manage the department, which has four full-time officers, including Simpson and Iannuccillo, six part-time officers and a secretary.
Selectman Ronald Morales, the selectmen's liaison to the police department, said the police coverage for the town has not changed.
"It's basically business as usual," he said.