N.H. Officer Fired for Personal Use of Department Funds

Selectmen in Brookline have decided to fire a police sergeant who admitted spending the department's money on a pair of slippers for himself.


BROOKLINE, N.H. --

Selectmen in Brookline have decided to fire a police sergeant who admitted spending the department's money on personal items.

Sgt. Michael Kurland has been on paid leave since December. He admitted that he used money from the department's uniform account to buy a pair of Ugg slippers.

Kurland said he was reimbursing himself for out-of-pocket expenses for the town's DARE program.

The selectmen voted to fire him by a 3-to-2 vote.

"The process that led us here was riddled with mistakes," said Brookline Selectman Darrell Philpot.

Kurland faced a slew of charges leveled against him by Brookline's new police chief, William Quigley. Authorities said Kurland paid the department back, but Quigley said Kurland was less than forthcoming when he was initially confronted.

"If Sgt. Kurland had simply provided that detail, admitted to what he had done right away, we probably wouldn't be here, possible, today," said Selectman Tad Putney.

In hearings, testimony revealed Kurland had a traffic stop confrontation with Quigley's son years ago, leading some to believe Quigley held a grudge against the embattled officer.

"We have an officer who gives years and years of service to his community. The support through the hearings was obvious; a new chief comes in, and all of a sudden this happens. I think it's obvious what's going on," said Kurland's attorney Raymond Mello.

Selectmen Karl Dowling and Philpot voted against Kurland's termination. Philpot said discipline for Kurland is necessary, but firing goes too far.

"There's a couple of things that will come back to haunt us out of that," Philpot said.

Philpot said there's a possibility that Kurland will sue. "I don't think today was any resemblance of justice of any kind," Kurland said.

Kurland said he wants to stay positive, while his attorney said they will be closely evaluating their options in the coming days.

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