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Select Board votes to dismiss Brennan from HPD

by | Feb 8, 2024 | Featured: News, News, Police & Fire

Tim Brennan

Tim Brennan speaks to supporters outside Town Hall on Thursday following the Select Board’s vote to terminate his employment. PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

The Select Board on Thursday voted to fire Sgt. Tim Brennan from the Hopkinton Police Department, following the continuation of the Loudermill hearing that began last month.

Meeting for about three hours in executive session in Town Hall — closed to the public — the Select Board ultimately voted 4-1 to accept Chief Joseph Bennett’s recommendation that Brennan be dismissed, with chair Muriel Kramer casting the lone dissenting vote.

Brennan, showing visible emotion, met with his vocal supporters outside Town Hall shortly after 8 p.m. and shared the news. He said he had been offered a deal where he could have remained on the force if he would have accepted a demotion and significant suspension, but he turned it down.

UPDATE: The town released a statement through its public relations firm, JGPR, late Thursday night, indicating “the Town of Hopkinton and counsel for the labor union had attempted to resolve the matter in a mutually acceptable manner. Those discussions were unsuccessful, resulting in Thursday’s vote. Brennan’s termination is effective Monday, Feb. 12.”

A humbled Brennan, who has received support from many in the community throughout this ordeal, told his backers that he was used to helping others and was not used to others helping him. He also said he planned to take his case to arbitration.

The supporters have vowed to start recall petitions for the Select Board members and have plans to gather names at local stores this weekend.

Brennan was accused of violating police department policy by not reporting information about an alleged sexual assault by a colleague, former Deputy Chief John “Jay” Porter, relating to when Porter was serving as the school resource officer and the alleged survivor was a Hopkinton High School sophomore nearly two decades ago. Porter pleaded not guilty to three counts of child rape in May 2023 in Middlesex Superior Court. Brennan explained that he was prioritizing the confidentiality and safety of the alleged survivor, who placed her trust in him. He also brought up issues with the department’s policy.

The Loudermill hearing originally began Jan. 19 with a contentious public session at the Hopkinton Senior Center. As the Select Board neared a vote to dismiss Brennan, representatives for Brennan and the town asked for a continuance so that they could discuss a possible solution.

John Cardillo contributed to this report.

Tim Brennan

Tim Brennan supporters make their presence known outside Town Hall on Thursday. PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

7 Comments

  1. annie

    I voted for these Select Board members but I see now I made a mistake. If they choose to run again, they will not have my support except Muriel Kramer who saw the right way to go.

  2. Peter LaGoy

    Tim Brennan broke a policy, which he admitted, in order to help a survivor of child abuse and rape. The policy he broke was the requirement to report child abuse to the chief, when to do so would have violated the trust of the survivor, and in all likelihood, would not have led to justice for former deputy chief Porter. Survivors of sexual crime have weighed in to say the approach Tim Brennan took was the only way to address this horror and gain trust.

    Chief Bennet, meanwhile, released the name of the survivor publicly, a clear crime. And in addition to the charge above, also charged Brennan with not following procedures that were not in place when the incident occurred. For example, Brennan was supposed to follow a 2017 policy on student resource officers using babysitters, when the survivor babysat for his family between 2005 and 2008.

    Two men; one serving a survivor, the other upset about a policy violation. Yet our Select Board choose to follow the will of the chief. Why? I can’t imagine. But I do know that in so doing, they will cost this town lots of money. They have hurt a man who has always worked diligently to serve our community and his family.
    And most importantly, they have revictimize a survivor of a heinous crime.

    • Elle F. Iknow

      Do (we) know as fact that it was Chief Bennett who released or approved release of the unredacted report? Was it released in response to a public records request? If yes, then (our) public records request officer and or Town Counsel is at fault and should be held accountable. If released surreptitiously, then Bennett should be ashamed and held accountable.

  3. Betsy

    Will the select board members be called upon to explain their the rationale for their actions?
    Thank you Muriel; the only member who understands the implications for the victim, as well as the emotional toll on Tim regarding the victim.
    Isn’t this above the experience of non legal citizens to determine the legal outcome of an officers employment.

  4. Charlene Miller

    As a former long time resident of Hopkinton, I am appalled by the decision re Tim Brennan. Tim always showed consideration and compassion towards residents, was someone I always trusted in his role on the HPD. He always had an open ear and good advice for anyone who had an issue, a quality you want in a small community. Muriel has shown herself to take this all into consideration when casting her vote. Th e remaining selectmen have hurt the town and its people in voting negatively. They Don t seem to have listened to the residents they represent and have hurt the town significantly. I hope the towns people remember their actions when I t comes to re election! Keep fighting Tim!

  5. john

    Thanks to the Select Board for working through this issue and coming to the final decision to dismiss Sgt. Brennan. Based on all the commentary I have read it sounds like Sgt Brennan is a respected member of the community. Good to hear that he was given an option to stay on the force.
    The police force policies are put in place for specific reasons and they must be followed. While he has expressed his reasons for not reporting the alleged sexual assault, the policy is not subject to his own interpretation. And in my opinion, by not reporting the alleged assault by another officer there is an appearance of the police force protecting their own members. I think Chief Bennet made the correct decision and I have trust in the Hopkinton Police force.

  6. Eileen Rockwell

    Tim Brennan was given two gifts from the select board when they agreed to table the motion so he could negotiate and again when he was offered his job back. The consequences of this are now placed solely on his shoulders, and I suspect there’s more to this story than any of us really know.

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