SACO – The Saco City Council agreed on Monday evening to close the investigation into Saco Police Chief Raynald Demers and Deputy Police Chief Corey Huntress.

What happens next could be decided as early as Monday, May 13. The council is expected to conduct another closed-door session that evening, following the public session, which also includes a vote on the city budget, said Mayor Marston Lovell.

After hearing details and asking questions  in a closed-door session on Monday, the Saco City Council voted to close the investigation into Police Chief Raynald Demers and Deputy Chief Corey Huntress. Next steps could be decided as early as Monday, May 13. COURTESY PHOTOS

The mayor and city councilors met behind closed doors for three hours on Monday evening, hearing a report from a third-party investigator hired through the city’s personnel attorney.

“(The investigator) gave detailed information on the findings and answered a variety of detailed questions from the council in order to satisfy their interest in making certain the investigation was thorough and complete,” said Lovell in a telephone interview on Tuesday morning.

Demers and Huntress were placed on administrative leave by Saco City Administrator Kevin Sutherland on Friday, March 15.

The reasons for that action have not been made public and officials have been tight-lipped, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters.

In a statement he read at a Saco City Council workshop on March 18, Sutherland referred to a number of internal statements and allegations, and said he felt it would be best to “put some space between everyone” and bring in a third-party investigator to ensure a fair and just review.

Sutherland said he trusted and respected the work the police department leadership had contributed to the community.

The Saco City Council assumed jurisdiction over the investigation on March 25. Lovell pointed out that the city’s charter speaks to the council’s ability to conduct investigations.

Lovell said it was his opinion that the council assumed jurisdiction for that reason and because one of the individuals was a department head.

“I believe (that) prompted the council to look at this directly,” said Lovell. “The City Council has remained neutral on the matter and all of the information the council has received to date through the investigator points to a through and complete investigation.”

Councilor Alan Minthorn, who made the motion to close the investigation following the executive session, agreed. The vote was unanimous.

Lovell indicated decisions on next steps could come relatively soon.

“A decision could well be made” at Monday’s council meeting, he said.

Deputy Police Chief Jack Clements was named acting head of Saco Police Department after Demers and Huntress were placed on leave.

Demers, himself a former deputy police chief in the city, was named police chief in December 2016 following the retirement of former chief, Brad Paul. He has worked for the city for 30 years.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected] Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf contributed to this report.

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