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After job is eliminated, police chief strips down to underwear and walks home in snowstorm

A New Hampshire police chief stripped down to his underwear and walked home in the middle of a snowstorm after his position was eliminated by the town’s selectboard.

Richard Lee was relieved of his duties as police chief of Croydon, New Hampshire, Tuesday night after a three-member board voted to eliminate the one-man department.

After serving the town as police chief part-time for 20 years, Lee was told to immediately turn in the keys to his cruiser as well as his gun and uniform. He went into an office he shared with town officials and began stripping down.

“I gave them my uniform shirt. I gave them my turtleneck, I gave them my ballistic vest. … I sat down in the chair, took off my boots, took off my pants, put those in the chair, and put my boots back on, and walked out the door,” Lee said.

According to The Valley News, Selectboard Chairman Russell Edwards told Lee to turn in his uniform another day, but he declined.

Instead, without spare clothes or a ride, Lee chose to begin his 7-mile walk home in a snowstorm wearing only briefs, a T-shirt, a gray baseball cap and a shirt, the newspaper reported. He walked a little less than a mile in 26-degree weather before his wife picked him up.

Lee said that if he had left with his gear, he didn’t want to face the possibility of being arrested. According to The Valley News, Lee and the selectboard have had moments of tension in the past, including when voters shut down a proposal from Lee to increase his salary by 43%.

He told the paper that he still doesn’t know why his position was terminated. However, Edwards said New Hampshire State Police already covered most incidents in the town and Tuesday night’s decision moved that to full coverage.

“Part of the discussion covered the fact that we didn’t feel we were getting the value of the money being paid to the chief versus what we have been paying for the state police coverage,” Edwards told WPTZ-TV.

Lee, who was going to retire in a year and a half, said in an interview with the news outlet that he has no plans to continue his career in law enforcement and will miss the people of Croydon.

“I wish them luck and seriously, good luck,” he said. “I wouldn’t wish anybody ill in the town.”  

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/02/20/new-hampshire-police-chief-stripped-duties-walks-home-underwear/4817356002/

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