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Criminal Mischief (06/14/2017)

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Saco River rescue arrest

LIMINGTON — Police say firefighters helped a woman who was stranded on a rock in a Maine river get safely back to shore, where she was immediately arrested on an outstanding warrant.

Police say 37-year-old Kimberly Hayford and a man became stranded on the night of June 10 after their inflatable raft was punctured by a rock in the Saco River near Limington. Firefighters coaxed the pair off the rock, allowing them to make their way back to safety.

A sheriff’s deputy took their IDs and checked for any outstanding warrants; this is standard procedure according to the department.

Hayford was wanted for not paying a $720 fine related to a conviction for operating under the influence.

Accidental shooting at MCJA

VASSALBORO - State Police are investigating the accidental shooting of an Aroostook County corrections officer that took place inside a vehicle parked at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro on the evening of June 12, according to a press release from Maine Department of Public Safety spokesperson Stephen McCausland.  

The vehicle and gun involved were privately owned. Wounded was Matthew Morrison, 33, from Mars Hill. Morrison is being treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland for a gunshot wound to the leg. 

Morrison was shot by a second correctional officer , Matthew Benger, 24, from Portland, who works for Cumberland County. The shooting took place inside a pickup truck owned by a third correctional officer – Cody Gillis, 25, of Brunswick, who also works for Cumberland County. The three men were attending the five-week basic corrections training program at the academy. The gun was owned by Gillis.

The shooting took place about 8 p.m. as the three men were leaving the academy grounds for the evening. The gun had been stored in the console of Gillis’ truck and Benger, who was a front seat passenger, was handling the 9mm handgun at the time. Morrison was sitting in the rear seat of the truck and Gillis was driving. The incident took place in the rear parking lot of the police academy complex, located off Oak Grove Road.

Morrison was taken by ambulance to MaineGeneral in Augusta and then flown by the Lifeflight helicopter to Maine Medical. He was expected to have surgery on the leg on June 13.

The Director of the Academy, John Rogers, said the three officers were in the fourth week of their correctional training, which takes place during the day. The class was made up of 29 correctional officers from the county jails and the Maine correctional system. Some officers commute from home and others stay at the academy during the week. The three officers involved in the incident were staying at the academy and were leaving the campus last night on an errand.

Rogers said he will review the incident and is awaiting the final investigative report from State Police. The Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office will also be receiving a copy of that report.  


K9 Patrol graduates

VASSALBORO – The Maine Criminal Justice Academy has graduated the latest class in its K9 Patrol School, according to a post on the Maine State Police Facebook page.

On June 9, the 32nd K9 Patrol School held the graduation for six K9 teams that will begin work for State, Municipal, and County agencies across Maine.

Graduates are Deputy Travis Frost of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office with K9 Finn (Belgian Malinois); Maine State Trooper Taylor Dube and K9 Odin (Belgian Malinois); Officer Travis Spencer of the Belfast Police Department with K9 Dex (Dutch Shepherd/German Shepherd Mix); Maine State Trooper Brian Hink and K9 Berry (Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd Mix); Officer Joshua Robinson of the Yarmouth Police Department and K9 Matrix (Belgian Malinois); and Officer Lucas Shirland of the Topsham Police Department and K9 Jobe (Belgian Malinois).

The K9 Patrol school takes place at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro. Teams have to master obedience, tracking, evidence searches, tracking, some aggression work among other things. The training is layered and intensive, building on skills over the weeks that the troopers, deputies and police officers attend the academy.

The training isn’t only geared towards the dogs. The handlers must learn how to give the proper cues to make sure that their partner has the ability to respond properly and not respond to signals their partner may be sending unintentionally. It’s as much about controlling the handler’s behavior and cues as it is the K9 learning the commands.

During the formal ceremony, friends and family helped apply the pins to the lapels of the graduate’s uniforms. This was followed by a K9 Demonstration of many of the skills the teams learned over the 14-week Academy, including tracking, agility work, obedience, bite work, and much more. During this demonstration, Cpl. Chris Smith, one of the instructors gave the audience some behind-the-scenes information, like what each graduate’s nickname was and how it was acquired, ages of the dogs and more.


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