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Politics

Maine Capitol Police Chief Announces Retirement After Investigation Into Social Media Posts

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Capitol Police Maine
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Capitol Police Chief Russell Gauvin in 2006, shortly after his hire.

The Maine Capitol Police chief who was placed on administrative leave for a series of controversial social media posts is retiring.

The separation agreement between former chief Russell Gauvin and the Maine Department of Public Safety includes an $87,000 severance and retirement payout, retention of his pension benefits and no admission of wrongdoing.

Gauvin was placed on administrative leave in January after a series of social media posts surfaced that included him questioning the validity of President Joe Biden's election win and mocking the use of masks as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In a statement, Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck thanked Gauvin for his 15 years of service as the chief of the Capitol Police.

Gauvin also released a statement and suggested that he had been targeted for expressing unpopular opinions.

"We are now in an era where some people are disfavored and even ridiculed by others simply because they have a different opinion," he said. "Instead of tolerance and appreciation of differences, too many people think that they have all the right answers. Dissent has become unwelcome. Critical thinking, a skill that used to be valued and taught, has become an undesirable trait because it challenges group think."

Gauvin's retirement is effective Friday.

Lt. Robert Elliot will continue to lead the Capitol Police until a full-time replacement is chosen.