Disciplinary hearing planned for Montague police chief

  • Montague Police Department/ Safety Complex Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

TURNERS FALLS — Police Chief Charles “Chip” Dodge will go before the Selectboard at a disciplinary hearing planned for next month, now that town officials have learned findings from an independent investigation.

A closed-door executive session of the Montague Selectboard was held Monday night to hear from APD Management Inc. about its investigation.

Selectboard Chairman Richard Kuklewicz said another executive session for the disciplinary hearing is expected to be held at a board meeting in early January, though a date has not been determined. Dodge is on paid administrative leave while the town investigates the Montague Police Department.

Though town officials have not publicly disclosed the focus of the investigation, it comes in the wake of an Oct. 12 Recorder story detailing the state attorney general’s investigation into the department’s handling of a prescription drug drop box and how that investigation focused on Dodge, who became addicted to opioids after being prescribed painkillers for a foot injury he suffered as a young patrol officer. No charges were filed from the investigation, which was closed earlier this year.

Repeated attempts to contact Dodge for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.

Montague Town Administrator Steven Ellis said the hearing will likely be held in closed session, though the individual at the center of a hearing is allowed to decide if the meeting will be open to the public.

The Selectboard entered into a contract with APD Management Inc., a private firm founded in 1998 by retired Tewksbury Police Chief Alfred P. Donovan. Ellis said the firm came highly recommended.

“We felt objectivity was critical,” he said. “We felt very comfortable with the choice.”

Chris Bonnett, the police department’s lieutenant serving as second in command, was formally appointed acting chief in early November, after having been informally appointed on Oct. 31.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 258. On Twitter: @DomenicPoli