Otis officer candidate was arrested on domestic violence charge; case was dismissed

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OTIS — A former full-time Cape Cod police officer and crisis negotiator, who left the job after being arrested on a domestic violence charge in 2016, is one of five finalists for a part-time officer position in Otis.

Kevin Conboy, whose case was dismissed less than a month after his arrest, was interviewed last week by the Otis Select Board. He previously had worked as a part-time officer in Otis, where he grew up.

"I went through a divorce, and now I'm living back in the area," Conboy told the board and town manager. "My intention is to get back in the field."

Conboy was the final of five candidates to be interviewed for a part-time on-call position, which could result in several shifts a month in addition to detail shifts while the town's high-speed internet infrastructure is installed.

During the interview, members noted Conboy's vast experience as a full-time officer, which included murder investigations and testifying in court.

"You're like super qualified," Chairman Donald Hawley said.

Conboy was working as a full-time police officer at the Dennis Police Department in May 2016 when he was arrested for allegedly striking his wife in the throat in front of their children, after an argument about money, according to Barnstable District Court documents.

The next day, the police chief in the nearby town of Brewster suspended his license to carry firearms. Conboy's license had been issued in Brewster, where Conboy worked as an officer from 2010 to 2014.

At a court hearing on the matter, the chief, Richard Koch, testified against Conboy's request to have his license reinstated, according to a report in the Cape Cod Times.

"In this case, I had information that this was not the first time [he struck his wife]," Koch told the judge, the report said.

Conboy had been placed on administrative leave at the Dennis Police Department until he left Sept. 2, 2016, according to Dennis Police Lt. John Brady.

The criminal case ultimately was dismissed at the request of Conboy's wife, who previously had taken out a restraining order against him. And she emailed Koch at the time, arguing that her husband should be allowed to carry firearms, according to the Cape Cod Times report.

Still, District Court Judge William O'Grady denied Conboy's petition to have his license returned, an Orleans District Court clerk confirmed.

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Attempts to reach Conboy by email and social media were unsuccessful.

At last week's interview with the board, Conboy touted his past police experience.

"Reflecting back on my time here, I thought it would be a good idea for law enforcement in part-time departments to ride along with officers in full-time departments," Conboy told the town officials. "Now that I've been through the full-time [police] academy and had these experiences, I feel like I can do the job better."

During the public meeting, the Select Board didn't question Conboy about his arrest, but members had been made aware of it. Conboy applied for a position as a part-time officer in 2017, but wasn't hired, according to former Otis Police Chief Roberta Sarnacki.

Sarnacki, who the current Select Board voted not to reappoint to her position last summer, said that in 2017 she had been asked to go to Dennis to do a background check on Conboy. He was in the process of having his license to carry reinstated.

"Conboy was not chosen [for the job] at that time," Sarnacki said. It's not clear whether Conboy is currently licensed to carry a weapon.

The Select Board is waiting for interim Police Chief Daniel Hamill to give it a plan for how many officers are needed before it makes its final decisions.

"We don't know if we're hiring one or five [officers]," Select Board member William Hiller said at Conboy's interview. "We have no idea."

The four other candidates — Martin Mayberry, Christopher Jackson, Adam Gonska and Kenneth Pettibone — were interviewed Jan. 31.

At that public meeting, Conboy's father, John "Jack" Conboy, who works as sanitation inspector for the town, was the only member of the public who attended. He apologized to the board on behalf of his son, who was out of town for the first round of interviews.

Jackson, a former West Stockbridge police officer, works as a part-time officer in Tolland. Mayberry is a detail officer in Lanesborough and is manager at the Calvin Klein store at the Lee Premium Outlets.

Gonska works for Amtrak and previously had served with the Otis rescue squad and as a police officer. Pettibone has worked as a police officer in several towns, including Otis and Becket.

"There would be no reason not to [recommend] all the officers," Town Manager Rebecca Stone said after Conboy's interview. Stone did not return a request for comment on this story on Thursday.

"Every one of them has their strong points," Hawley said.

Haven Orecchio-Egresitz can be reached at horecchio@berkshireeagle.com, @HavenEagle on Twitter and 413-770-6977.


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