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  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Sgt. Michael Kurland stands in front of The American Flag as he takes an oath before he takes the stand in a hearing to determine his fate as a Brookline police officer. Kurland, previously the Interim Police Chief before the hiring of Chief William Quigley, has been on paid leave after being charged with ten separate charges of misconduct.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Sgt. Michael Kurland leans over to look at a document with his lawyers during Thursday afternoon's hearing.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Brookline Police Chief, William Quigley testifies during Thursday afternoon's hearing for Sgt. Michael Kurland at Brookline Town Hall.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Attorney Tom Closson reads a memorandum addressed to Sgt. Kurland about the conclusion of his investigation during a break in Thursday afternoon's hearing at Brookline Town Hall.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Sgt. Michael Kurland makes his way to Brookline Town Hall before the start of Thursday's hearing into allegations of misconduct.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Sgt. Michael Kurland stands in a line of people waiting to be let in to attend his public hearing, Thursday afternoon, outside of Brookline Town Hall.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Sgt. Michael Kurland enters the room in Brookline Town Hall where his hearing was to take place, Thursday afternoon.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Brookline Police Officer, John Noel testifies during Thursday afternoon's hearing.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Brookline Police Chief, William Quigley testifies during Thursday afternoon's hearing for Sgt. Michael Kurland at Brookline Town Hall.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Sgt. Michael Kurland leans over to look at a document with his lawyers during Thursday afternoon's hearing.
Saturday, March 19, 2011

Brookline disciplinary hearing continues: Witness describes prior Quigley-Kurland conflict

BROOKLINE – When he was deputy chief of police in Weare, William Quigley III told a job applicant who was a friend of his son’s that his goal was to return to Brookline to serve as chief.

Aaron DeBoisbriand, a former Jaffrey Police officer who grew up in Hollis, testified Thursday that during an interview with Quigley, the two discussed officers they both knew in the Brookline Police Department and “a situation years ago” that Quigley had with officer Michael Kurland.

“He was on his way home in his son’s vehicle and was followed by a cruiser,” DeBoisbriand said. “His son had had an interaction with the officer, and he felt harassed.

“He was followed, and at the liquor store, there was a confrontation with officer Kurland.”

DeBoisbriand said the gist of the conversation was that Quigley was “not a big fan of Mike’s,” and when the job applicant asked if it would be difficult for Quigley to serve in Brookline, he was told: “I’d make some personnel changes.”

DeBoisbriand was the last witness called during Kurland’s disciplinary hearing before the Board of Selectmen at Town Hall on Thursday afternoon, held publicly and broadcast on the local cable access channel at Kurland’s request.

Quigley, now the police chief in Brookline, was represented by Portsmouth attorney Thomas Closson, who was retained by the town last year when officials fired former Police Chief Thomas Goulden. Quigley is recommending that Kurland, an officer who joined the town’s Police Department in 1998, be fired based on a list of charges stemming from violations of the town’s police policies:

 • Use of official position for personal gain.

 • Mishandling of funds and accounting.

 • Failure to complete hours.

 • Absence from duty.

 • Lack of honesty.

 • Incompetence.

 • Insubordination.

 • Being discourteous to the public.

Kurland purchased Ugg slippers for his wife last year and charged them to the Police Department’s account with Alec’s Shoe Store in Nashua, and put them on his own charge afterward without a proper accounting, Quigley said. In addition, Quigley charges that Kurland contacted Milford Police officer John Noel, who had accepted a position in Brookline, and gave him a start date before the chief had completed a background check, and that Kurland “strong-armed” a local mechanic into paying for signs for the DARE program.

Preceding his cross-examination, attorney Ray Mello, one of three lawyers representing Kurland, noted Kurland has had “a successful career” with the town’s police force and was so highly regarded that the Board of Selectmen asked him to serve as acting chief after they fired Goulden.

During questioning, Mello asked Quigley: “Have you had training in internal affairs investigations?” Quigley said he had taken one course in internal affairs but felt comfortable investigating Kurland and believed he could be fair and impartial.

“Talking specifically about Sgt. Kurland: Was it easy for you to lead an internal affairs investigation? Did you have no prior issue with Sgt. Kurland?” Mello asked, bringing up a complaint from several years back related to a conflict between “a member of Quigley’s family” and Kurland.

“Isn’t it prudent to have another agency do the investigation? The state police? The attorney general?”

Mello also wanted to know whether Quigley had discussed Kurland during interviews with the board prior to his hiring, given the history he had with Kurland. Quigley said he never discussed Kurland with the board.

The hearing ran for almost five hours, and at its conclusion, Selectmen’s Chairman Tad Putney told the audience and television viewers that before the board makes a decision on Quigley’s recommendation to fire Kurland, it must read the transcripts, which will be available in seven days. The board has two days to study the material and is obligated to meet afterward to deliberate and make a decision.

Quigley placed Kurland on paid leave about six weeks after he took over as chief.

Kurland said he was eager to work with the new chief and expected to be part of “a leadership team.” Instead, he said, the chief communicated with him only through memos.

“He said he was a document freak,” Kurland said.

During interviews by Kurland’s attorneys, Quigley said he never notified Kurland about the investigation or the charges against him or provided Kurland with any legal forms saying his answers wouldn’t be used against him. “I didn’t have to,” Quigley said.

Hattie Bernstein can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 24, or hbernstein@cabinet.com.