Council says Bar Harbor police handled Young situation incorrectly

10:46 PM, Feb 27, 2014   |    comments
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BAR HARBOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Bar Harbor Town Council voted 5-2 Wednesday not to reinstate Nathan Young as police chief, a position he held for almost 23 years. Young was fired after his own policemen found him slumped over the wheel of his car, appearing intoxicated.

"They clearly have the power to do an investigation. I'm certain that they were put in a very difficult position due to no fault of their own," said Town Manager Dana Reed.

The two junior officers who found Young said during Wednesday's hearing that they weren't sure what to do when they realized the man behind the wheel was their boss. One of them, Officer Larry Ficket, said he had made 175 arrests for OUI in his career. However, he didn't arrest the chief on September 25.

"I think that the officers mishandled the situation because they were young and inexperienced. They certainly made every attempt to do the right thing. Unfortunately, in the few minutes that they were gone they didn't have the time to stop Nate from driving home," said Vice Chair of town council, Gary Friedmann.

The investigator's report as well as the officers' testimonies that they felt their police chief was intoxicated was enough for the town council to vote against his reinstatement. While some council members said the officers mishandled the situation, they said it's a learning experience. 

"it's unfortunate that it turned out that way, but given their inexperience I don't hold that against them," said Friedmann.

The officers said it was a situation they hope to never have to go through again. If it does happen in the future, Friedmann hopes the correct action is taken.

"No matter who is in the car they need to do a sobriety test to determine whether the person is impaired by alcohol and then to prevent them from driving under the influence," said Friedmann.

Young has an opportunity to appeal the council's decision.

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