CAPT. DAVID MEYERS holding the N.H. Sheriff’s Office Employee of the Year award received on Oct. 24, 2011. Days later he announced he was moving the date of his retirement up to Nov. 15. (click for larger version)
August 23, 2012OSSIPEE — The N.H. Attorney General's Office has decided there is not enough evidence to bring charges against Carroll County Sheriff Christopher Conley amid allegations by a former employee that Conley threatened and intimidated him.
Since the sudden retirement last November of the Carroll County Sheriff Department's second-in-command, Captain David Meyers, there have been unanswered questions about the reason for his sudden departure and why Meyers asked that a no trespassing order be served to Conley by local police.
Meyers, formerly of Tuftonboro, had been awarded, at the recommendation of Conley, the N.H. Sheriff's Department Employee of the Year by the New Hampshire Association of Counties in October 2011, so it came as a surprise to many that Meyers gave notice he would be retiring effective Nov. 15, 2011.
The next news to make headlines was a Nov. 3, 2011 no trespassing letter, signed by Tuftonboro Police Chief Andrew Shagoury, that was served to Conley by police in his hometown of Wolfeboro. The letter stated that if Conley stepped on Meyers' Tuftonboro property he would be subject to criminal prosecution. At that time, Conley said he had no idea why Meyers thought it necessary to have such a letter served to him. Conley dismissed the letter, telling a Conway Daily Sun reporter that he threw it in the trash and telling a New Hampshire Union Leader reporter that the letter was probably a result of the stress of leaving a long law enforcement career. "Generally, a lot of people who leave a law enforcement career path experience a lot of stress on the way out the door," he told the Union Leader reporter. In an interview with this reporter on Aug. 14 this year, Conley said he continues to have "no idea" why he was served with that letter.
Documents obtained from investigations completed by Ossipee Police Department and N.H. Attorney General's Office shed some light on Meyer's allegations.
According to the documents, Meyers met with Ossipee Police Department Sgt. Robert King and Lt. James Eldridge asking that charges of criminal threatening be brought forth against Conley.
Meyers informed investigators that there had been "an ongoing situation with Conley since March 2011." According to the investigative report, it seems the relationship between Conley and Meyers had been in a downward spiral since March 2, 2011 when "the sheriff failed to arrest a suspect on a fugitive warrant and may have taken affirmative steps to prevent the arrest by responding Deputy US Marshalls." In a March 2, 2011 incident report, on sheriff's department letterhead, Meyers spelled out the details of the "situation." Meyers said that while he was out on duty, driving on Route 153 he received a call from a secretary at the sheriff's department telling him that a man who was known to have a federal warrant for his arrest was in meeting with Conley. The secretary called the U.S. Marshal's office to confirm the warrant. The Marshal asked that a deputy sheriff detain the fugitive for a half hour until he could get to the sheriff's department to take the man into custody. The secretary said she was afraid to convey this information to Conley, so Meyers did. She also reportedly locked the door to the secretarial area, locking herself and another secretary in the room for their own protection. Meyers also told Conley that he was 10 minutes from the sheriff's office and had additional deputies responding to assist.
Within minutes, Meyers said he received another phone call from the secretary who was now "extremely upset and crying" who informed him that the fugitive had walked out of the building and that Conley had been banging on the locked door to her office asking if "she was inserting herself into this situation." Meyers said when he finally arrived at the sheriff's department, he found the secretaries in tears and the sheriff "very upset." Meyers said he expressed his concern to the sheriff about not detaining the fugitive. Conley allegedly replied to Meyers that the whole case against the fugitive was (expletive) up and would never stand up in court under scrutiny. Conley said he knew details about the case and had made the decision not to detain the fugitive.
Meyers told investigators that after this incident in which he questioned Conley's decision to not detain a fugitive, the relationship between himself and Conley continued to deteriorate until November 2011. The reports do not give any specific details about other incidents involving the two.
On Nov. 4, 2011, Meyers told investigators that the county commissioners voted to place him on administrative leave, effective immediately – a leave that would last until his Nov. 15 retirement date. On Aug. 14, Conley said that the commissioners were acting on their own information and never consulted him prior to placing Meyers on leave.
Sources close to the investigation say that Meyers was placed on leave for his own best interest because of the pending allegations he was making against the sheriff. A letter from the commissioners, confirms they voted to place Meyers on leave Nov. 2, 2011 at 8:40 a.m. but did not give the specific reason. When reached by telephone Tuesday, Commissioner David Sorensen declined to give any details about the session or the vote to put Meyers on leave, citing personnel privacy laws.
In a report obtained from Ossipee Police Department, investigators looked into allegations by Meyers that Conley should be charged with tampering with witnesses and informants (intimidation) and criminal threatening. Meyers said that Conley's behavior towards him had become so volatile that he was concerned for his own safety and his wife's. Meyers told investigators that after he made the decision to retire, Conley put together a list of trumped up charges against him "for the purpose of keeping him quiet" and allegedly told Meyers "as long as you don't cut me on your way out the door or say bad things about me on the way out, this internal investigation will stay here in the office and it won't go anywhere." Meyers said he construed this to be intimidation. Conley denied saying this.
Meyers also told investigators that Conley asked him when he was scheduled to leave for Florida and then asked specific details about when Meyers' wife was leaving and if she was driving there alone. Meyers said he perceived this as a threat against his wife and the couple chose to change her travel plans for her safety.
Because the sheriff's department is located in Ossipee, the initial investigation was handled by Ossipee Police Department and, after consultation with the county attorney, forwarded on to N.H. Attorney Generals's office.
The fact that there was an investigation and allegations against Conley was discovered earlier this summer by this reporter and a right-to-know request submitted to the Attorney General's office took five weeks to be fulfilled, spelling out the details of their investigation.
N.H. Associate Attorney General Jane Young, noted on Dec. 15, 2011 that that her office had reviewed the allegations by Meyers that Conley had threatened him on Oct. 28, reviewed the Ossipee Police investigation of Nov. 3, and interviewed Conley Dec. 9, 2011.
According to that report, Conley was interviewed at AG's office in Concord. on Dec. 9, 2011. He arrived to the interview wearing Army camouflage and told investigators he was in Concord attending Army Reserve training. He refused to allow investigators to tape record the interview.
Conley told investigators that he "never threatened anyone," never discussed details of Meyers' personal life, but did say he did not trust Meyers and felt he had been undermined by him.
Apparently Conley asking about Meyers' wife's travel plans did not rise to the level of criminal threatening, even if Conley's questioning made him feel threatened for his and his wife's safety.
The AG's office concluded that there was not "sufficient basis" to conclude that Conley had threatened Meyers and "no further action will be taken on this complaint." According to Ossipee Police Chief Donald Grow, there is no longer an open investigation in his department regarding this matter either.
Multiple attempts over the past ten months to contact Meyers for an interview have been unsuccessful. He does not have a telephone number listed in the telephone book and is believed to have moved to Florida.