FRYEBURG, Maine — Police Chief Joshua Potvin was put on paid administrative leave Monday, the town manager confirmed Tuesday morning.
Potvin, 43, has been chief since 2014 and had been acting police chief in the spring of that year before being elevated to chief in September.
He was chosen out of 37 applicants for the chief’s job.
Potvin was hired as a reserve officer in January of 2013 and rose through the ranks. He was named acting chief in May 2014 after then-chief Phil Weymouth was placed on leave for undisclosed reasons and ultimately resigned.
Potvin had 18 years of law enforcement experience prior to becoming acting chief.
The Sun reached out to Town Manager Katie Haley on Monday. She replied Tuesday in an email sent at just after 6:30 a.m.
“The chief is on administrative leave effective yesterday,” said Haley in a two-sentence response. “The lieutenant is in charge.”
Haley was referring to 53-year-old Lt. Mike McAllister, who she said has been with the department for 32 years.
Asked why Potvin was placed on leave, Haley said she couldn’t answer that.
“As you know, personnel issues are confidential,” said Haley, who confirmed that Potvin is being paid.
Repeated requests for comment from Potvin were not answered by press time.
Asked who put Potvin on leave, Haley replied that she “makes personnel decisions.” She said Potvin will not be allowed to keep the cruiser that the chief uses.
The town of Fryeburg’s website says the department, in addition to having a police chief and lieutenant, has one sergeant, three “patrol officers” and nine officers.
At the time of Potvin’s promotion to chief, then-town manager Sharon Jackson explained that a national search for a new chief had resulted in 37 applicants. The applicants were vetted by Jackson along with representatives from a consulting company called the Tideview Group, Jerry Hinton and Michael Pardue; Bridgton Police Chief Kevin Scofield; then-Fryeburg selectman Paul Naughton; then-Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant; Paris Police Chief Michael Madden; and Fryeburg resident and retired Bridgton police chief David Lyons.
Potvin was subjected to a criminal background check, a polygraph, and psychological and medical tests as part of the selection process.
In May of 2014, a result of calls for information about Potvin, the police department released a detailed biography when he assumed the title of acting chief.
Potvin had served as a patrol sergeant for the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office as well as team leader on the emergency scuba-diving team. He attended advanced command staff training as well as employee performance appraisal and civil liability training. Potvin had experience in police management, union relations, policy writing, community safety programs, criminal investigations, internal investigations and front-line patrol supervision.
In 1994, Potvin attended the State of Maine Fire Academy and obtained his emergency medical technician license. He started his law enforcement career conducting marine patrol in the town of Harpswell by enforcing marine conservation and boating safety laws. Potvin also attended airboat/ice operations and a small-boat handling course at Southern Maine Community College where he later studied criminalistics.
Potvin also served a term on the Maine Criminal Justice Academy Canine Advisory Board and assisted in policy development.
After 15 years with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, he accepted a contracted position with the U.S. Department of State conducting diplomatic security and explosive K-9 training at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
After his overseas deployment, Potvin returned to the U.S. and began serving as a reserve officer for the Fryeburg Police Department in January 2013.