Shawn Newell took over the job of Fort Fairfield public safety director and police chief on March 4, 2016. Credit: Contributed

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — Fort Fairfield Police Chief Shawn Newell officially resigned his position after having been on administrative leave since February.

“Shawn Newell has resigned his position as the Chief of Police and I have accepted that resignation,” Town Manager Andrea Powers said on Monday afternoon.

Newell could not be reached for comment regarding his resignation.

When Newell was first placed on administrative leave, Town Council Chairman Mitch Butler said the town council did not know anything about the matter and the council was waiting for an investigation. At the time, the Maine Attorney General’s Office said it couldn’t confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

The reason Newell was placed on administrative leave was never made public.

After news of Newell’s resignation surfaced on Monday, the AG’s office said there was no comment regarding Newell at this time. 

Powers was asked Monday if she was aware of an AG’s report.

“I do not have the Attorney General’s report,” she said. “As I am not a law enforcement agency, I would not receive that report.”

Additionally, Newell — along with the town of Fort Fairfield, two other police officers, the previous town manager and the police department — was named as a defendant in a 10-count civil lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court last August and the case is scheduled for a jury trial later this year.

Fort Fairfield residents, Jesse and Deanna Murchie allege violations of the state’s Civil Rights Act, negligence, assault and battery and a pervasive discriminatory culture in the Fort Fairfield Police Department and the town.

Newell took over as Fort Fairfield police chief in March 2016.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the court the 10-count civil lawsuit was filed in.

Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli

Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli is a reporter covering the Presque Isle area. Over the years, she has covered crime, investigations, health, politics and local government, writing for the Washington Post, the...