Maine’s two largest, competing newspapers joined together to document how the state’s biggest police force obscures the misconduct of its troopers from public view. Originally intended to shine a light on officer abuses, the discipline records kept by the Maine State Police instead use vague language and unexplained redactions to avoid disclosing how officers violate the public’s trust.
So the Bangor Daily News and Portland Press Herald set out to uncover the misconduct, revealing how one officer hindered an investigation into his former fiancee’s hit-and-run. Another kept secret that a fellow officer punched a handcuffed man in the face.
The newspapers also uncovered the misbehavior the agency failed to record at all. Officers have eluded public documentation of their actions by resigning and asking that their discipline records be destroyed. One former officer faces criminal charges for assaulting his wife, but he was not disciplined and resigned.