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Wolfeboro police commissioners reassert disapproval of Copeland views

June 26, 2014
WOLFEBORO — Wolfeboro Police Commissioners Chairman Joe Balboni and Ron Goodgame responded to lingering questions at the June 19 commission meeting about the events leading up to the resignation of Commissioner Bob Copeland in May and their opinions on the matter.

Resident Jim Rouillard, who attended last month's meeting, which attracted press attention from the region and beyond, commented that Copeland's recent letter of apology to the editor in the Granite State News (June 12) was a "non-apology".

Copeland's comments in regard to the President of the United States came to light when resident Jane O'Toole found out they were made by an elected official, contacted the Wolfeboro Board of Selectmen and followed up with a letter to the Commissioners. Copeland's unapologetic response spurred her to write a letter to the editor of the Granite State News.

In the letter Rouillard referenced, Copeland wrote that he apologized "sincerely to all residents of Wolfeboro and the Black Community everywhere for language I used in a personal comment about Barack Obama," but continued, "The comment was intended to be private but an eavesdropper regrettably made it public to the detriment of the Town of Wolfeboro."

Rouillard questioned what Balboni meant when he was quoted in news reports as saying that O'Toole had "blown things out of proportion." Balboni chose not to respond, indicating the matter was over with.

"There is scuttlebutt, " said Rouillard, "that the Police Commission supports Bob Copeland's views." Goodgame reminded him that he had stated at the beginning of the public session last month that the commissioners did not condone or approve of Copeland's remarks.

"Hearsay is that you tacitly support them," persisted Rouillard. "It's a lie," Goodgame said firmly, continuing that he feels there is a perception in the community that the commission "is made up of a couple of old, dottering men. I take great umbrage at that. It was a terrible mistake on Mr. Copeland's part. Mistakes were made by Bob and other people. It took on a life of it's own."

The commissioners announced during the June 19 meeting that they interviewed eight candidates for the newly-open seat on the commission and have chosen Steve Wood for the position.

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