STATEMENT FROM THE CHIEF
Since January 25, 2016 when I took office as the Chief of Police for the Thomaston Police Department, I have been faced daily with how to resolve the looming Officer Tobin issue. I have been asked numerous times by citizens with opinions on both sides of the issue how and when I plan to make a decision regarding whether Officer Tobin will continue in his duties at TPD or not. I have tried to be very objective in my review of all the information available to me. I have read statements, police reports, commendations, viewed videos, and certainly not least among my actions was to pray about how I would go about correcting an issue that began long before my tenure. I understand this issue has invoked anger, created division, and wasted tax payer dollars, all of which made my decision that much more difficult.
At this point all investigations and reviews have concluded that no one, to include myself, has found Officer Tobin guilty of committing unlawful acts while acting in his official duties. I might add that while the City of Thomaston Policy does not allow me to consider disciplinary actions dating beyond a five year period, I did go back and look at complaints beyond 2011, as did the District Attorney, but found all complaints, based on the available documentation, had been addressed by previous administrations. While I firmly believe that Officer Tobin has not committed any criminal violations, I do believe that Officer Tobin is in need of training regarding professional standards and conduct that I believe to be paramount in order for him to remain at the TPD. My expectations of my officers will always be that the citizen, no matter who they are and what they have done, is to be treated with respect and dignity in action and in words. I will accept and tolerate no less from any of my officers.
It is my decision that Officer Tobin will end his administrative leave and return to the TPD on Thursday, March 17th. I have set forth very clear expectations for his conduct after his return, which he fully understands. Officer Tobin will be assigned as the department Evidence Custodian and a Crime Scene investigator, for which he will receive training. These positions fill a vacancy that is needed for our department as we strive to obtain State Certification and ultimately National Accreditation. I have not had the opportunity to work with Officer Tobin, but plan to work closely with him to help him understand that his passion for policing will be made more effective in this community as he understands my expectations for professionalism and respect. I am fully aware that my decision will anger some in this town. I assure you that I am acting not only within the confines of the law but in the best interest of this city. As I have stated to some members of the community, I am deeply committed to bettering the lives of those we serve and will tolerate nothing less than professionalism and respect in the services we deliver. It is my hope and prayer that we can put this issue behind us and move toward building a better future together in our community and within our Police department.
Chief Mike Richardson