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Gilford officials remain quiet regarding police chief's leave

Union Leader Correspondent

September 17. 2013 10:06PM

GILFORD — There hasn’t been a groundswell of angry residents demanding to know why Police Chief Kevin Keenan has been put on administrative leave.

But there is strong support for Keenan, and there are growing concerns from residents and town officials who want to know what’s going on.

“Apparently, only the selectmen and the town administrator know what’s going on, and they’re not telling anyone,” said Budget Committee Vice-Chairman Kevin Leandro.

“I’ve asked several times, and I can’t find out anything. They say it’s a personnel issue,” he said. “I don’t know of any citizen uprisings yet, but (Keenan) is a very popular chief. As of right now, I support him, until I hear otherwise.”

In fact, at last week’s selectmen’s meeting, one person, former budget committee member Mark Corry, stood and voiced his support for Keenan.

“I’m just a poor citizen who wants to know what’s going on,” Corry said.

“He’s been a very good chief for this town, and I’m curious as to why he’s on administrative leave,” Corry said. “I know absolutely nothing about why he’s on leave, and that troubles me.”

Keenan has been with the department for nearly 20 years, having been appointed chief in October of 2011. He has a salary of $83,500.

Lt. James Leach has been placed in temporary command of the department.

Town Administrator Scott Dunn announced last week that Keenan was placed on administrative leave with pay on Aug. 29. Dunn said the police cruiser Keenan was allowed to drive to and from his home was turned over, but he refused to say if Keenan had turned in his badge and gun.

Board of Selectmen Vice Chairman John T. O’Brien would not discuss the situation, saying only, “it’s a private matter.”

Keenan has also withheld comment, and has not returned phone calls.

Selectman Gus Benevides said the selectmen would not comment on Keenan’s situation.

“I’m not going to make any comment on that at all,” Dunn said.

Leach, who is still going by the rank “lieutenant” and not “acting chief,” said he could not comment on Keenan’s leave.

When asked if Keenan is under any kind of investigation, he said, “I can’t comment on that.”

Public Safety Politics Gilford

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