A longtime police officer in Windham who was put on paid leave because of his actions in a contentious debate over the town’s public safety dispatching has lost his job.

Sgt. Michael Denbow, a 29-year veteran of the force, was an outspoken critic of the town’s decision to save money by eliminating its dispatch service and joining the county’s operation.

He was put on leave in June for allegedly using police resources to investigate whether a town councilor who voted for the dispatching change had a conflict of interest.

Town Manager Tony Plante said Thursday that Denbow is “no longer with the police department.” He declined to say whether Denbow was fired or resigned.

Several attempts to contact Denbow were unsuccessful.

William McKinley, a lawyer who represents the Maine Association of Police, said Denbow did not resign. He declined to comment further, or say whether Denbow would appeal.

“It would certainly be my understanding that he was not going to accept anyone terminating his status with the Windham Police Department,” McKinley said.

Denbow was put on leave after accusing council Chairman William Tracy of being biased in his vote to discontinue the local dispatch service and join the Cumberland County Regional Communications Center.

Tracy is a director of business banking for Gorham Savings Bank in Windham, which Denbow argued has financial ties to Cumberland County’s dispatch operation.

Denbow allegedly sent an e-mail to Councilor Carol Waig saying Tracy should have “bowed out of the vote due to a conflict of interest.”

“If the county is doing millions of dollars worth of business with Gorham Savings Bank, (and) Bill Tracy is one of the vice presidents and considered by the bank to be, ‘one of the decision makers,’ … there is a definite problem with this,” the e-mail said.

Kenneth Cole III, an attorney with Jensen Baird who represents the town, issued a letter in June that said Denbow may have acted inappropriately.

Cole said the e-mail sent to Waig made it appear that Denbow “conducted the investigation without probable cause,” and that “the purpose of his investigation was to disrupt a policy decision.”

Police Chief Richard Lewsen declined to comment on the findings of the investigation.

Tracy said Thursday that the bank has no ties to the county operation.

He declined to comment on Denbow’s departure from the police department.

“I do think the whole incident is incredibly unfortunate,” Tracy said. “Things could have been handled differently if someone thought there was a conflict of interest, which there is not.”

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