Rumford PD used for Political Purposes (Maine)

This is a guest submitted post describing their experience with the Rumford police

First I want to start by saying that not all police officers who work for the Rumford PD in the past and present are bad. As a matter of fact, the RPD cannot keep good police officers because of the way they are treated. I honestly respect law enforcement and am fascinated with crime scene investigation but I do not respect those who abuse their power.

I USED to be on the Rumford Finance Committee. I started volunteering on the committee in 2007. We are a dying mill town with an overstaffed union police department. I did my usual research before budget season began and learned that we are significantly overstaffed compared to other towns in Maine with comparable populations. That particular year we had at least two police officers leave the force. After presenting my data to the other finance committee members, I implored them to take action now and cut two positions so that it would not negatively impact an actual person losing a job. Both the committee and the town voted to cut those two positions and we went from a full-time force of 14 to 12. According to the US Census Bureau, we had roughly 6500 people. According to the FBI Crime Index, we had very, very little violent crime reported by the RPD. I am telling you this background because this is how I became public enemy number one to the permanent fixtures who still work for the RPD. Please see attached chart.

I am a law abiding citizen. I am a Veteran. I am a dedicated citizen. In 2010, I called the RPD to help me deal with my husband, who had been diagnosed with combat PTSD. I didn’t want him arrested. I didn’t want anything except for them to help me get him to the hospital. He was having an especially hard time because of some custody issues with his ex-wife and things had reached a boiling point. A few months earlier, she called the RPD from Tennessee claiming that he was abusing me. He was not abusing me. They showed up and against my will arrested him for domestic violence on the word of a person who had a stake in the matter, maintaining full custody of the two boys. But when I called them for help getting him to the hospital, they gunned for me.

I was still on the Finance Committee and we were just about to start budget season. After calling the police, they showed up at my house and talked to everyone in the house but me. By the time they got to me, I was not asked what happened or why I called, I was instead told what I did and then served with a summons for furnishing a home for minors to consume, a felony. My husband bought beer that night which is why things escalated with his PTSD. Apparently one of the kids in the house snuck a beer during all the commotion. I obviously didn’t notice because I was dealing with a husband who was having a melt down. I was trying to keep him from drinking because it was only making matters worse. My husband bought the beer, I called for help, and I was the one who got served with a summons. All my faith in the RPD went down the drain with the remainder of the alcohol.

But wait, there’s more. Within the next couple of days, there was an article in the newspaper about me. The title was along the lines of Finance Committee member, blah, blah, blah. They used the situation for political gain. The once effective finance committee member was now deemed a domestic violence victim and a person who threw parties for underage kids. All of it was untrue but it didn’t matter. My reputation was tarnished along with that of my husband.

My husband’s case was dropped by the DA as well as mine. But of course that didn’t make the papers. And the charges were so bogus, we didn’t even need to hire an attorney. But, they were successful at discrediting me in front of my peers and the community. I fulfilled my obligations on the Finance Committee and left the position after budget season ended. I will never volunteer for the community again and I will never call the RPD again. But, I am planning on taking them to court to hold them accountable. They arrested my husband for domestic violence when I didn’t want them to and then they served me with a summons when I did call them for help. They didn’t know why I called them. What if I had called for domestic violence purposes? What kind of message does that send to other victims of domestic violence?

The funniest part about this whole thing is that now they are overcompensating for their inactions with me and with domestic violence victims. The new “old” Board of Selectmen voted to spend $600 to put signs on all the roads leading to Rumford that the RPD will not tolerate domestic violence. If I actually was a victim of domestic violence, it would infuriate me. But, since I am not, it makes me laugh. The RPD has a reputation for turning things on the person who calls 911. Now I know why. I would rather be killed by an intruder or my husband than call those idiot cops to help me in any way. I almost lost my career because of a felony. That is serious business.

The saddest part is that we pay high taxes for an overstaffed police force who isn’t there for us. They are there for themselves and will protect their jobs at all costs regardless of who gets hurt along the way. Our Governor was a victim of domestic violence so he is making it his priority while in office. Once again the RPD is using the pain of domestic violence victims for political gain. It’s not only sad but it’s pathetic and my story proves just that.

Jennifer Norris


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