September 18, 2013

Former Fairfield police chief pleads guilty to operating under the influence

By Doug Harlow
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Former Fairfield police Chief John Emery pleaded guilty to operating under the influence Wednesday in Skowhegan District Court.

Staff photo by David Leaming

Sanders said police reports are protected by state law, meaning they do not have to be released to the public unless the district attorney agrees to do so.

Stokes also said witnesses reported hearing gunshots in connection with the police visit to Emery’s home, but there is no police report on file to confirm that.

“There is information — gunshots were heard,” Stokes said. “Reports of discharge were heard. It doesn’t appear to be at anyone in particular, but reports of gunshots were heard.”

Skowhegan police so far have refused to release reports that detail events that led to the charge against Emery, saying the case was an active prosecution and the information protected as nonconviction data.

With Wednesday’s guilty plea, the case is no longer is an active investigation. The Morning Sentinel on Wednesday submitted to Skowhegan police Chief Ted Blais a new Freedom of Access Act request for copies of all police reports and court affidavits in connection to the Emery case. He did not respond immediately.

Stokes, McKee and Assistant District Attorney Joelle Pratt, who was in court Wednesday, said Emery did not receive preferential treatment.

“As a police officer, I think he stepped forward and accepted responsibility for the OUI, and he received a sentence that any other person would receive for a first offense,” Stokes said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

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