Community Service Officers File Complaints Against Deputy Police Chief

Jason Graziadei •

Screen Shot2022 10 12at1 43 31 AM

Four community service officers with the Nantucket Police Department filed formal complaints this summer following an unannounced inspection of an all-female dormitory that led to a verbal altercation with Deputy Police Chief Charlie Gibson inside the dorm.

The incident prompted Nantucket Police Chief Bill Pittman to implement a new policy regarding access to the department's dormitories at the LORAN station in Sconset the very next day, and initiate an internal review that involved the town’s human resources department.

In the complaints, obtained by the Current through a Freedom of Information Act request, the four female community service officers (CSOs) described being “shocked,” “uncomfortable,” and “unsafe,” during the unannounced inspection of the dormitory on Aug. 2.

The inspection, led by Deputy Chief Gibson, included four contractors who were on the island for a pre-bid walkthrough related to a renovation project for the dormitories where the CSOs live during the summer months.

In e-mails sent to Nantucket Police Sgt. Dan Mack, all four women objected to the nature of the unannounced inspection of their dormitory - which they said was done without prior notice or even a knock on the door - and specifically to the conduct of Deputy Chief Gibson when he encountered two of the female CSOs inside the dorm.

One of the women - whose name is redacted from the documents - said they had no idea who Gibson was because they had never met him before, despite being employed by the department for several months. She wrote in her complaint that when Gibson walked in “he said ‘Hope everyone’s decent’ and smiled to himself without checking or giving us fair warning in case we were not clothed or in a state where we didn’t look appropriate.”

When she told Gibson no one was aware of the inspection, he told them “I don’t really care,” according to the complaint. They then asked Gibson to identify himself, and he allegedly said “I’m the Deputy Chief and if you don’t know that you should probably shut up.”

In her complaint, the woman said she would not work for the Nantucket Police Department again as a result of the incident.

“I was very shocked that five men barged into the residence (redacted) in without announcing themselves or giving us fair warning and even more shocked that they refused to address us, and when I asked a simple question, I was told to shut up,” the woman wrote. “It was extremely upsetting and as a woman I felt very unsafe. I am very grateful for the job I have and the people I have met while I’m here, including all of the respectful and hard-working LTs, SGTs, Officers, and other workers for the department. Unfortunately, this incident has made the decision for me that I would not willingly work for the department again if it is run by someone who shows blatant disregard for women and their safety. His lack of professionalism has made me concerned for every women working for the Nantucket Police Department and for the women who come to the island who may require his aid.”

Gibson is the husband of Town Manager Libby Gibson, and is the longest-serving member of the Nantucket Police Department. With an annual compensation package totaling $238,000, Deputy Chief Gibson is Nantucket’s highest paid municipal employee due to his longevity and a unique contract structure that provides him with an education incentive of more than $40,000 annually.

According to the complaints, all four women said Gibson and the contractors did not knock or announce themselves before entering the female dormitory for the inspection. While Gibson declined to comment to the Current about the situation, he was requested to provide a written statement to the town of Nantucket’s human resources director Amanda Perry regarding the incident. In that statement, he maintains that he did knock before entering the dorm.

“I knocked on the door and then entered the key code and opened the door,” Gibson wrote. “I opened the door and announced ‘Hello’, there was no response and there was no one in the common hallway. We walked down the hall towards the kitchen and did not see or hear anyone.”

In his account, Gibson confirmed he did encounter two of the female CSOs who asked what he and the contractors were doing in the dorm.

“(name redacted) then responded in a quite disrespectful way ‘you could have knocked’,” Gibson wrote. “I told (name redacted) I did. (name redacted) then responded and a similar disrespectful way, ‘so who are you?’ I snapped back at (name redacted) and to (name redacted) that I was the Deputy Chief.”

Thumbnail IMG 0575 d8c25401

According to the documents obtained by the Current, the complaints prompted an internal review of the incident and Gibson met with Nantucket’s Human Resources Director Amanda Perry one week after the inspection on Tuesday, Aug. 9th, to discuss what had happened. In her role with the town, Perry ultimately reports to Town Manager Libby Gibson.

“The prominent concern with regard to the inspection was the dialogue that occurred between yourself and residents of the female housing unit,” Perry wrote in an e-mail to Deputy Chief Gibson following their meeting. “It is my recommendation that further follow-up occurs, whether this be an in person meeting with a RA (Tirone) of the building or a written letter acknowledging miscommunication and actions that have been taken to ensure a similar situation does not happen again. As I shared, the seasonal employees look up to leaders such as yourself as representatives of the entire Department. Your well intentions of introducing yourself were not well received, and a request from the parties involved is an apology.”

It’s unclear if an apology was ever issued, or if any other disciplinary action was taken. Police Chief Bill Pittman declined to comment.

But on Aug. 3, the very next day after the incident at the dormitory, Pittman issued a department-wide memo regarding a new policy for access to the LORAN station barracks in Sconset, and emphasized that “failure to adhere to these instructions could result in disciplinary action.”

The policy established that access to the dorms will be restricted to police department personnel who reside there and the “RAs” (resident assistants) assigned to them. Access for any other reasons other than putting out a fire now requires prior notification to the department’s lieutenants, according to the policy, who will ensure residents have advance notice of people entering the buildings. The order does not prohibit unannounced inspections, Pittman wrote, but they can only be made with his prior approval, and inspections will be made by persons of the same sex as those residing in the dorms.

It also appears that Pittman and Lt. Angus MacVicar met with at least one of the female CSOs who filed a complaint. The person e-mailed MacVicar on Aug. 3 to thank them and wrote “I feel much better about this situation. We all appreciate your help.”

The original complaints, however, revealed that the women were disturbed and upset by the incident.

Read the documents obtained by the Current through our FOIA request

“I was very uncomfortable having 5 or 6 grown men that I have never seen nor met before inside of the place that is supposed to be a safe and respected living environment,” one of the female CSOs wrote. “I had no idea who these men were and it felt like a breach of my guaranteed safety living in the police barracks with only women to have grown men entering and exploring my living quarters, when they could have been complete strangers. I would like everyone to understand that this is something that can not be accepted nor welcomed, especially taking into consideration that some women can feel more vulnerable and unsafe around the presence of a group of random grown men entering their living quarters. I appreciate the timely and respectful manner that you have been taking to take care of the situation and the genuine care you have towards our feelings and wellbeing. I do not see this as a reflection of this department as I have been treated with nothing but respect and professionalism and have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and look to stay past the summer months. I would like action to be taken to ensure this does not happen again as I am requesting to stay.”

Another female CSO wrote in her complaint that: “My intention in filing this complaint is to hold people accountable for their actions. This incident does not reflect the mission of the Nantucket Police Department through respect nor fairness nor compassion. As a woman in a male-dominated field, I feel as though this was an abuse of power on behalf of the Deputy Chief, as well as an invasion of a responsible expectation of privacy. I am requesting a formal verbal apology from the Deputy Chief.”

And the fourth complainant in the incident said the episode was so concerning to her that she “was really debating on taking the next ferry out because no one should be talked to like that...”

When Gibson allegedly told her colleague to “shut up” the woman said “my jaw dropped and I looked (redacted” the shear disrespect was disgusting to me, I hundred percent understand there is a hierarchy in a police department, but how rude he was to us was gross, and how he expected us to know who he is when he has never introduced himself to us was astonishing.”

Loading Ad
Loading Ad
Loading Ad

Current News