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Friday, November 6, 2009

State says it’s close to finishing inquiry involving officer

HUDSON – It could be at least a month until the state finishes investigating a police officer for potentially committing a financial crime.

The state attorney general’s office still won’t identify the officer, but from the start of the nearly two-month-long investigation, town officials have confirmed that it is 20-year department veteran Capt. Donald Breault.

The attorney general’s office had initially set a mid-October deadline for completing the investigation, but several recent murder cases have pushed it back, Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati said.

The attorney general’s office recently concluded a last round of interviews and has just about completed the investigative phase of the case, Agati said.

Next, the state will assess the case, Agati said. The attorney general’s office will review all information and make a conclusion, he said.

The investigation could wrap up in a month, he said.

Breault was placed on paid leave Sept. 8. He will remain on leave until the investigation is completed, Town Administrator Steve Malizia said.

The investigation started as a broad public-intergity issue and was then narrowed in scope to a potential financial crime, Agati said.

Agati said he can’t provide any further detail.

The attorney general’s office, a county attorney, state police or a neighboring police department typically head the investigation within a police department to avoid conflict of interest.

Hudson police have declined to comment on the investigation. Selectmen have also declined to comment, with several board members saying it is a personnel matter.

Selectman Benjamin Nadeau said last month that Police Chief Jason Lavoie placed Breault on leave.

Breault joined the force in 1989 after graduating from University of Massachusetts Lowell with a degree in criminal justice. He completed his training at the New Hampshire Police Academy.

He was a finalist for the chief position when former police chief Richard Gendron retired in 2008. Selectmen chose Lavoie over Breault.

Albert McKeon can be reached at 594-5832 or amckeon@nashuatelegraph.com.