REHOBOTH - The Board of Selectmen here voted Friday morning to suspend embattled Police Chief Stephen Enos for two days without pay following a closed meeting with the chief. The suspension will take place sometime within the next 30 days.
Board Chairman Ken Foley tells the Hummel Report the decision came following a report the board received last month from Public Safety Perceptions, a consulting firm owned by former Plainville, Mass. Police Chief Edward Merrick.
The board hired Merrick in March to examine the well-publicized drinking incident involving Enos on Dec. 10 at the Riviera Inn in East Providence. Chief Enos told the selectmen he had taken ``half a dose'' of the narcotic Vicodin for a medical procedure about 2 p.m. that day, had a Rum and Coke at 7 p.m. and was found by city police just before 10 p.m. lying in the driveway of a home several hundred yards away screaming ``Kill me'' repeatedly.
The chief had driven to the party in his unmarked department-issued cruiser, and had his service revolver and a rifle locked inside, which was in the restaurant's parking lot. The board initially chalked it up to a `bad mistake' - but a Hummel Report investigation brought out new details that Selectmen Don Leffort missed in his own review of the incident.
Selectmen Kevin McBride - who had pushed from the beginning for an outside investigation - resigned in part over the way the board handled the Enos case.
The ensuing public outcry led the board to decide in early February to hire a ``private, independent'' investigator. But the board didn't sign a contract until March 14th. At the March 28th meeting, Foley announced that Merrick had found no criminal charges, but did not elaborate, saying the report will be released at the board's next meeting on April 11th.
Foley said that Enos agreed to the suspension.
That will be one week after voters go to the polls to decide on two board seats, in what has become referendum on how the selectmen have handled the Enos case. Foley is up for re-election to a three-year term.
Foley told the Hummel Report Friday morning that Merrick found Enos's actions that night ``unbecoming an officer.'' Foley said he has not received a bill yet from Merrick, but estimates the investigation will cost taxpayers $1,500 to $2,000.
Foley said that although he has read the full report, the board was not prepared to release it to the public on Monday night because it has some medical information that needs to be redacted.