December 29, 2011

Trooper accused of driving drunk appeals to colleagues

Sgt. Robin Parker says state police members are upset he didn't get a break, but it's best this way.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A veteran Maine State Police sergeant accused of driving drunk while off duty Dec. 18 is urging his colleagues not to resent or be angry with the troopers who charged him.

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Sgt. Robin Parker

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Sgt. Parker's letter to colleagues

SGT. ROBIN PARKER'S LETTER:

Dear Fellow Troopers,

Im not sure Im able to articulate exactly how I feel but I will try to put into words my thoughts.

Most if not all of you know by now what happened with me last Sunday evening.  I was pulled over on the turnpike for suspicion of driving under the influence.  I was subsequently processed and charged with that offense by Troopers within Troop G.

I want to first thank all of you for your tremendous support and prayers.  I will continue to graciously accept them as I move forward in this process.

One thing I want to make perfectly clear to everyone.  My decisions and choices were mine and mine alone.  I have made some mistakes and Im prepared to answer for them.  I appreciate the kind words expressing sadness that I will have to deal with this in the courts and within the department.  But these are the consequences for MY ACTIONS.  Im not saying this is not painful, because it is.  Im not saying this is not going to be hard, because it will be.  Im not saying Im not ashamed and embarrassed, because I am.  But, what I am saying is I own this and Im prepared for the consequences.

I apologize to all of you from the SP cadets that I just graduated from the BLETP to Colonel Williams.  I have embarrassed myself and tarnished not only my reputation but that of the Maine State Police.  An organization I wanted to be apart of since I was a young boy.  The thought of having brought discredit to the organization that I love so much is hard to bear.  What I have done to my family, friends, and our State Police Family has saddened me deeply.

There is one other thing that has saddened me and that is what Im hearing around the department.  I understand there are many that are very upset that I was processed by our own and perhaps not “treated differently”.  Although this anger may stem from a respect and appreciation for me as a person and Trooper, they are not healthy.

Let me first say that the Troopers that dealt with me were professionals that we all strive to be.  What we expect from the Cadets at the academy and teach them to be like when on the road.  I could tell throughout the process that they took no pleasure in doing what they had to do.  For them I want to apologize for putting them and their supervisor in that position.  They showed COMPASSION, EXCELLENCE, INTEGRITY, & FAIRNESS.  This is what we ask and this is what was done.  Remember that I was the cause and I am responsible for my own actions.

So, If I could ask for one thing out of all of this.  Please allow this to pass with no more anger and resentment.  Show those involved and had to make difficult decisions that same love and compassion you have shown me.

We have a Command Staff that we all feel can lead us and a direction the State Police is going in is positive.  I feel bad enough knowing what I have done.  If I thought that any discourse or division within the State Police occurred because of my actions It would be difficult for me to live with.

I have no resentment towards these men and I ask that you don’t either.  We don’t need this to effect morale and the camaraderie we have amongst ourselves.

I apologize for the rambling but it has been difficult to sort my thoughts and put to pen.

One last thing,  Please forgive me for my actions and I hope I will have the opportunity to work with you all again and earn back your trust and respect.

You’re Brother & Fellow Trooper.

Sincerely,

Robin Parker     

"I understand there are many that are very upset that I was processed by our own and perhaps not 'treated differently,'" Sgt. Robin Parker wrote in an email sent to troopers and obtained Wednesday by The Portland Press Herald.

"Although this anger may stem from a respect and appreciation for me as a person and trooper, they are not healthy. ... I have no resentment towards these men and I ask that you don't either," he wrote. "We don't need this to effect (sic) morale and the camaraderie we have amongst ourselves."

Parker's lawyer, Jonathan Goodman, said he was not involved in the writing or distribution of the email, but discussed it with his client after a reporter called him Wednesday.

"(Parker) heard a third-hand rumor somebody was upset about what has happened, and he interpreted that to mean they were giving the troopers involved a hard time, but he has no personal knowledge of anything like that," Goodman said.

Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety, said he was unaware of Parker's email, which was sent Friday. Top state police commanders did not return phone calls seeking comment.

McCausland said Trooper Duane Doughty stopped Parker in the northbound lanes of the Maine Turnpike in Gray on the night of Dec. 18. McCausland said the stop was made a few minutes after 7:59 p.m., when a motorist called police to report that a car was being driven erratically.

Soon after the stop, Doughty's supervisor, Sgt. James Urquhart, arrived at the scene, as did another trooper, whose name McCausland said he did not know.

McCausland said it is customary for a trooper who makes an unusual stop -- which would include stopping another trooper -- to notify his or her supervisor.

Parker was given a blood alcohol test and issued a summons to appear Jan. 18 in Portland Unified Court on a charge of operating under the influence.

McCausland refused to disclose the results of any field sobriety test or breath test for blood alcohol content, saying only that "the charge speaks for itself."

Under Maine law, a person is considered to be driving drunk if they have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater. A first offense does not require jail time. Driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or higher carries a mandatory two days in jail.

McCausland said state police do not reveal blood alcohol content or other investigative details before a case gets to court, regardless of the defendant.

Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson, who said she handles most of the cases against law enforcement officers, cited the Criminal History Record Information Act to explain why authorities do not release information about blood alcohol content. The law says the state cannot disclose pre-conviction data, including investigative information.

Anderson said the case against Parker has not yet been presented to her office for review and she has no specific information about it.

She said she treats any law enforcement officer charged with a crime the same way she treats any other person. Decisions about whether a law enforcement officer is held to a higher standard are left to a judge, she said.

(Continued on page 2)

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