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Paris police chief resigns
PARIS — Interim Police Chief Michael Dailey tendered his resignation Friday to leave Paris PD for a position with the Oxford County Sheriff's Office.
His professional goals, uncertainty with the department's future and a loss of trust and control in the department, influenced his decision to move on, Dailey said Tuesday.
In a March 15 resignation letter addressed to Town Manager Amy Bernard, Dailey said his experience as interim chief has been positive but he was not prepared for a mostly administrative position at this point in his career.
On Tuesday, Dailey said he expected to join the Sheriff's Office as a patrol deputy, the same position he accepted when he briefly resigned from Paris PD last November.
At the time, Dailey decided to stay on as interim chief after learning that former chief David Verrier was leaving. On Tuesday, he said he felt obligated to try the position and felt he was leaving the department with a good foundation.
Although he appreciated the experience, his duties as chief didn't allow him to concentrate on his passion for front-line policing and crash reconstruction, Dailey said.
"My position as chief is and would continue to severely affect my law enforcement passion of investigating motor vehicle crashes," Dailey wrote in his letter to Bernard.
The town would most likely not be able to financially commit to advanced training and equipment needed to keep up to date in the specialized field, Dailey wrote.
Continued uncertainty in the department also influenced his decision to join the Sheriff's Office, Dailey said Tuesday.
"I just don't have a feeling the town knows some of the direction it's going in when it comes to the police department as a whole," he said.
That uncertainty, especially his feeling that a contract between Paris and the Sheriff's Office could be brought up again, made managing the department difficult and put strain on personnel, Dailey said.
Last week, the board of selectmen voted not to bring the option of contracting with the Sheriff's Office for police services to voters in a special election.
"The board is pretty confident that it wasn't going to get approved by the voters and I think if they had presented it [to the voters] it would have eliminated the uncertainty," Dailey said.
"But without fully closing the door it leaves it open for questions to be asked, especially when there was a clear-cut savings there."
Dailey said his neutral public stance during the recent debate over the Sheriff's Office contract led to the perception among members of the department that he hadn't done enough to fight against the proposal.
As a member of the department, but not a citizen of Paris, he was uncertain what his public role should have been during the debate, aired during selectboard meetings, Dailey explained.
The episode, however, lost him some trust and control in the department, he believed.
"Once that's gone, that is something that is very hard for an existing manager to get back and get on track," Dailey said.
Despite his short tenure, Dailey said he had laid a good foundation for a new chief to take over the department.
"Maybe someone with fresh eyes can come in and direct it in the way it needs to go," Dailey said.
Reached Monday, Town Manager Amy Bernard said Dailey's resignation was a surprise, but not a shock.
Bernard said she expected to accept Dailey's resignation at the next board meeting and the town would move forward to assign an interim replacement and then begin the search process for a new chief.
Selectboard Chair Sam Elliot, on Monday, said he hadn't expected Dailey's resignation.
Elliot said he personally would not reconsider the Sheriff's Office proposal as a result of Dailey's departure.
"The board looked at an issue and made a decision and it stands," Elliot said. "None of that was predicated on having a chief or not. They seem to be totally separate issues in my opinion."
According to his letter, Dailey will work up until April 26.