Despite possible credibility concerns, at least 8 ‘Laurie List’ police officers remain employed
An NHPR analysis shows at least eight sworn law enforcement personnel whose names are included on the Laurie List appear to remain employed in the state, including two current police chiefs.
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The review of police credentials follows the recent disclosure of the state’s Exculpatory Evidence Schedule (the state's official name for the Laurie List). The Exculpatory Evidence schedule is a document containing the names of New Hampshire police with sustained conduct which raises potential credibility issues.
Last week, the state Attorney General released a list containing the names of 90 officers who were added to the Laurie List between May 2018 and the present, though it later shielded the names of at least 10 officers after it was notified of ongoing appeals over their status on the Laurie List. The allegations span from "truthfulness" to "criminal conduct," among other entries.
Through a Right to Know request with the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council, NHPR obtained a current list of every certified law enforcement officer in the state and compared that list to the Laurie List.
Those records show Chief David Ellis of the Troy Police Department and Chief Shaun O’Keefe of the Lyme Police Department remain atop their departments, despite appearing on the Laurie List.
According to the chair of the Troy Board of Selectmen, Ellis, who was added to the list in June 2018 for concerns over his “truthfulness,” did not previously disclose his position on the Laurie List to town officials. The Laurie List does not include more detail regarding why officers are on the list beyond a one- or two-word description.
“We just became aware of it, and we are looking into it,” Dick Thackston, chairman of the town’s board, said in an interview.
Thackston said the town intends to contact the Department of Justice for more information related to Ellis’s conduct, as well as question the chief.
“I know him to be pretty hardworking and honest and straightforward,” Thackston added.
Ellis did not respond to a request for comment.
Ellis was reported to be at the pro-Trump rally in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021 which led to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. At the time, Ellis said he was there purely as a spectator and did not condone the violence that followed.
O’Keefe, the Lyme chief, has been on the Laurie List since 2009 following what he described as a “hunting incident” in Pennsylvania with a large group.
The charges against him were later expunged, and O’Keefe said he previously disclosed the incident to the Board of Selectmen.
“I made a mistake and put myself in a bad situation,” O’Keefe said in a statement to NHPR. “I am human and therefore not a perfect being but I have learned from my mistake and handled it in a professional and honest approach.”
In the town of Belmont, the police chief defended one of his officers who appears on the Laurie List. Officer Kristopher Kloetz was added to the list for an undisclosed issue in 2018 by his previous employer, the Gilford Police Department. Belmont Chief Mark Lewandoski, Kloetz’s current boss, said he believes Kloetz should not be on the list.
“Based on what I’m aware of, he shouldn’t be on it,” Lewandoski said Monday. He likened the officer’s inclusion on the list to being falsely accused of a crime.
The Exculpatory Evidence Schedule has been maintained by the Attorney General’s office since 2018. It’s a result of U.S. Supreme Court precedent requiring prosecutors to turn over any evidence that could be favorable for a defendant, including the potential credibility of officers involved in their case.
Michael Geha, president of the New Hampshire Police Association, said some officers were placed on the list for what he called “simple employment matters” that would be better handled through training.
Because the list released by the Attorney General’s office does not include details on what led to any individual officer’s inclusion, it’s impossible to know the exact nature of any officer’s case.
“An important distinction is that the exculpatory evidence list is not a list of bad police officers but it is a list of officers who may have items that could be potentially helpful to a defendant in their defense in some cases while irrelevant in others,” Geha said.
While some officers were included for “criminal conduct” or “excessive force,” about two-thirds of those on the list are noted, simply, for “truthfulness.”
That includes Deputy Paul Bois of the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, who was added to the Laurie List in July 2018. The sheriff’s department did not respond to a request for comment.
Canaan Officer Matthew Bunten is listed as a certified police officer for the town of Canaan, and his name appears on the department’s website. He was added to the Laurie List in August 2018 for allegations of “truthfulness.” The town’s chief of police did not respond to a request for comment.
An officer fired by the Dover police department and subsequently hired by the Lee police department appears on the original version of the Laurie List released last week by the DOJ. However, the officer is appealing his inclusion on the list, and the officer’s name was, under state law, supposed to remain confidential pending that process.
Dover Police Chief William Breault said Monday that he couldn’t comment on why a former officer with credibility concerns would be hired by another police force.
“I can’t speak to what other departments may or may not do, but I know here in Dover we take truthfulness extremely seriously, and if there is any issue of truthfulness, the officer would be terminated,” Breault said.
In February 2020, Jonathan Marshall, formerly of the Barnstead Police Department, was added to the list for "truthfulness."
Marshall is now employed by the Rochester Police Department, which said it didn't learn of his inclusion on the list until a month after hiring him."The Rochester Police Department is committed to providing high quality service to all of our residents and we expect our officers to maintain high standards during the course of their jobs," Rochester Chief Gary Boudreau said in a statement to NHPR.
In the Upper Valley, Hanover police officer Joseph Landry was added to the Laurie List in January 2020 on concerns over what is only disclosed as “dereliction of duty.” Landry is listed on the department’s website as employed in the force’s patrol division. The Hanover Police didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Three other police officers whose names appear on the Laurie List also have active credentials with the state, but don’t appear to be employed.
Records show Andrew Williamson was added to the Laurie List in August 2018. Less than three months later, he was named police chief in the town of Hill. He was employed there as chief, a part-time position in the small town, until September 2020.
Tom Seymour, a current member of the Board of Selectmen, said Williamson’s status on the list had been previously disclosed, and that he believed Williamson to be an “honorable, steadfast individual.”
Former Concord officer Bryan Croft pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges in June 2021. Under the terms of his plea deal, the Attorney General’s office announced Croft would voluntarily resign his police credentials, but records show that process is not yet complete.
Former Keene officer Jillian Decker continues to hold her certification, according to records provided by the Police Standards and Training Council. The Keene police, as well as the Hinsdale police, where she was briefly employed earlier this year, both confirmed Decker is no longer working for either department.
The Council agreed to release a complete list of credentialed officers after NHPR agreed not to publish the list in full. Officials said releasing the complete list could raise safety concerns for certain officers.
In March, the Attorney General’s office is expected to release the names of officers who were placed on the Laurie List prior to May 2018, and who do not have an ongoing appeal.
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