The Board of Selectmen in Rehoboth decided Friday to hire what the chairman is calling a private, independent investigator to look into a December incident involving Police Chief Stephen Enos - who admitted to drinking at an East Providence restaurant while taking the narcotic Vicodin, after using his cruiser to get there. Jim Hummel has reaction from the board chairman and the chief.
Click HERE to read the the 12.20.2010 Hummel Report breaking the story.
Click HERE for the 1.27.2011 follow up report.
Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos had little to say as he arrived with his attorney - 15 minutes late - for a meeting with the Board of Selectmen.
Hummel: ``Chief, how are you today?''
Enos: ``Good. Could you excuse me?''
Hummel: ``Chief do you still maintain you did nothing wrong?''
Enos: ``I have no comment.''
Hummel: ``Well, why not? Don't you want to talk to the people and tell them...you're going to talk to your bosses first. Will you talk to us afterward?''
Enos: ``I'm going to talk to my bosses and we're going to leave it at that.''
Hummel: ``Not make any public statement?''
Enos: ``Talk to my bosses.''
Board Chairman Ken Foley and Selectman Don Leffort voted to go into a closed session - their third with the chief - to further discuss the Dec. incident where Enos was found lying on the sidewalk blocks from this East Providence Restaurant, after admitting to drinking while was taking the narcotic Vicodin.
The Hummel Report spoke with a woman who called 911 that night - saying Enos's screaming in front of her house woke her up from a sound sleep, as he repeatedly shouted ``Kill me.''
The selectman said last month they were chalking the incident up to a bad mistake, after Selectman Donald Leffort announced he had done a thorough investigation.
But Leffort admitted to us he did the entire inquiry by phone, never talking with the police chief in East Providence or the woman who made the 911 call, and only had a brief conversation with the owner of the restaurant.
Foley admitted publicity surrounding the incident has prompted the selectmen to reconsider something we had asked about in December right after this incident happened - having an outside person take a fresh look at exactly what happened.
Foley: ``You know a lot has happened since then. The town, there's a lot of politics in this town, as all small towns. It's really divided this town and it's too bad. Police Chief Enos has asked, requested, he has volunteered for an independent investigation into this matter and we have accepted that. We have accepted that, we had lengthy discussions with Mr. Enos, our attorney, the town's attorney and decided and voted to do exactly that: have a private investigator come in. We've asked for recommendations from legal counsel to come up with two or three agencies that do this. Typically it's a retired FBI person or ex-police chief, naturally who's distanced himself from any of these local politics who may not the chief or something.''
Hummel: ``Mr. Foley, why the change of heart?''
Hummel: ``You had announced a couple of weeks ago that you had done a thorough investigation.''
Foley: ``First of all this is a personnel matter, Mr. Hummel, and we're going to keep it that way.''
Hummel: ``I'm not asking about Chief Enos Mr. Foley. I'm asking you about the process.''
Foley: ``You heard my statement. The chief requested it and that's the way it's going to be.''
Hummel: ``Mr. Foley, I'm not asking about the chief. I'm asking about the process.''
Foley: ``The process??'
Hummel: ``The process you announced was fine a couple of weeks ago.''
Foley: ``Mr. Hummel I'll say one thing - everything changes. Like I said...this town being divided as it is...these meetings...what's going on in the press. It's got to stop. Mr. Enos volunteered to do this and I think it's the right thing and that's the way we're going to proceed.''
Foley told us off camera that the decision to bring someone in was a mutual one between the board and the chief.
Enos, who has declined our request for comment throughout, held to that position again after the meeting.
Hummel: ``Chief, why did you make this request chief?''
Enos: ``I have no comment. Any comment will come from my lawyer.''
Hummel: ``Chief, chief, if you having nothing to hide, why would you behind no comment now? If there was...''
Laywer: ``If you have any question, address them to me.''
Hummel: ``I'm talking to the chief sir.''
Laywer: ``You have any questions...''
Hummel: ``I'm talking to the chief - he is the person who is appointed and paid by the taxpayers. Not you. Alright, so chief, if there really is not a cloud, why the independent investigation. Why not initially? Did Mr. Foley ask you...to do that chief?''
Enos: ``Excuse me...''
Hummel: ``Chief, if you've got nothing to hide, why don't you just talk to us. There are a lot of people who want to hear directly from you, chief. So why all of a sudden now, hiding behind `no comment.'''
Enos: ``I think we'll let the investigator do the report, and they'll report back to the Selectmen.''
The board says it hopes to choose somebody to do the investigation at its meeting on Feb. 14.
In Rehoboth, Jim Hummel, for the Hummel Report.