A Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office sergeant who is accused of firing a gunshot near someone at his Poland home on Sunday had already been placed on suspension a few weeks earlier.

Brian Smith, 36, faces charges of domestic violence reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon and threatening display of a weapon. He is now on administrative leave, according to Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce.

Smith was suspended a few weeks before Sunday’s incident, Joyce said in a phone interview Tuesday. But he wouldn’t share the reason for the suspension, saying it was a personnel matter. Smith has been with the office for nine years.

“I hire individuals, not robots,” Joyce said. “Individuals, no matter who they are, have a lot of things going on in their life outside of work and inside of work, so to hear (the allegations) is disappointing.”

Smith’s position as a sergeant has been temporarily filled, Joyce said.

He was arrested Sunday afternoon after Androscoggin County deputies responded to a report that he had fired his gun within 5 feet of a person in his backyard, according to court documents reviewed by the Sun Journal. The alleged victim told police that Smith had been “spiraling downward in recent weeks” and had removed his wedding ring before going to the backyard with a gun.


Smith was held at Androscoggin County Jail but has since made bail, Androscoggin County Chief Deputy William Gagne said.

Smith’s attorney said during a court hearing on Monday that the alleged victim said they “never felt threatened whatsoever,” and that they want to stay in contact with Smith following his “mental health episode,” according to the Sun Journal.

A representative from the Teamsters Local Union No. 340, which represents Smith, did not respond to messages Wednesday asking to speak to a representative about the charges and Smith’s administrative leave.

Following Smith’s arrest, Joyce said the office will review its mental health services and domestic violence policy.

The office has a “zero tolerance” domestic violence policy that says employees will be fired if they are found guilty of a “qualifying” domestic violence crime. When an employee has been reported for domestic violence, the office will seize all duty weapons, the policy states, and if the employee is facing charges or convictions, it’s up to the county attorney to advise whether they should still be employed or reassigned.

On top of any criminal investigation, the policy says that the sheriff’s office will conduct its own investigation to decide if and how to discipline the employee, including removing their service weapon, reassignment, sanctions, suspension or firing. The sheriff can ask another agency to run the investigation. 


“We deal with this all the time as police officers and we know the ramifications,” Joyce said. “When you’re enforcing this as a job, and unfortunately you fall victim or fall into committing a domestic violence crime, that’s what becomes disappointing about it. We know what it does to the victim. We know what it does to the family. We know what it could mean for our jobs. So it’s an unfortunate situation.”

He encouraged anyone struggling with domestic violence to seek help.

“Don’t let it get to this point where things happen,” Joyce said.

Smith was taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation on the day of his arrest, according to Gagne, from the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office, who said the yellow flag process was initiated, but there has not been a hearing yet.

The yellow flag law, which is unique to Maine, allows police to temporarily take firearms away from people who are in crisis and pose a threat to themselves or others. After a person is taken into custody, they are evaluated by a mental health professional before a judge can issue an order to remove their guns.

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