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Three Westbrook firefighters placed on leave

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Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 8:26 pm | Updated: 8:56 am, Thu Jul 1, 2010.

WESTBROOK – Three Westbrook firefighters have been placed on administrative leave for getting into legal trouble outside of work, Mayor Colleen Hilton said Wednesday evening.

"They are on administrative leave, but it's not work related," Hilton said.

She said three have been put on leave because they got themselves into "some legal tangles."

Hilton said that because the matter is a personnel issue, she could not provide more details or identify the firefighters, who she said Fire Chief Michael Pardue placed on leave last week.

However, she said, two are part-time, on-call firefighters and one is a full-time professional firefighter.

Westbrook police say they arrested two of the firefighters last week.

Police Lt. Michael Nugent said that one of the men arrested is Richard Dorr, 38, whose address is listed as 548 Methodist Road. Dorr was arrested on June 22 on Vivian Street and charged with domestic violence criminal threatening and obstructing report of a crime, according to police.

Nugent said another firefighter, James Gammon, was arrested on June 25 on a charge of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Nugent said Gammon also lives on Methodist Road and that Dorr was staying with Gammon.

Gammon had a previous 1983 felony conviction for robbery so was not allowed to own a gun, Nugent said.

Nugent declined to release more details about Dorr's arrest on the domestic violence charge, saying police generally don't reveal details about such cases.

But, he said that in the course of that arrest, police learned that Gammon might have firearms in his possession. Nugent said that Gammon consented to a search of his home and showed police that he did own firearms and was consequently arrested.

Both men were taken to the Cumberland County Jail but were no longer in jail as of Wednesday, according to jail officials. Bail information on the two men was not available on Wednesday evening.

Nugent said he did not know whether Gammon or Dorr were full-time or part-time firefighters.

He said that Westbrook police had no involvement with the third firefighter put on leave.

Hilton said the three are on leave indefinitely as legal due process takes place.

"We'll take appropriate action as the situation unfolds," she said.

The administrative action against the three took place just after city officials announced that the Westbrook Fire Department had changed its image following charges of sexual harassment by two female firefighters.

One of those firefighters, Lisa Theberge, returned to the job on June 21. She and another firefighter, Kathy Rogers, had been out on paid administrative leave since September 2008 due to what they said was a hostile work environment. The two women also have a lawsuit pending against the city, and Rogers has not returned to the job.

Department members recently completed sexual harassment training and on the day Theberge returned to work last week, Pardue said she was back in a "a very professional environment." He said the organization was "working very hard to change whatever the image was previously."

Hilton stressed Wednesday that the three firefighters are not accused of any wrongdoing at work, and said the department remains as officials represented it last week.

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