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AMESBURY — The Amesbury Public Library is celebrating the fall with storytimes, family cookie decorating, a Story Hike, and more. NEWBURYPORT — A Newburyport Police Department internal investigation into the conduct of retired patrolman Richard Rocco shows a series of decisions and actions that, while not criminal, broke several rules of conduct leading to his ouster from the department.For more information about these programs or to register, visit or call 978-388-8148, ext. Rocco, an 18-year veteran of the department, was placed on paid administrative leave on May 31 pending completion of the investigation.
He joined the department in the late 1990s and worked predominately a 4 p.m. In addition to being a member of the department’s dive team, Rocco was a CPR instructor, a defensive tactics instructor and rode bicycles and motorcycles for the department.The lengthy report, obtained by The Daily News through a Freedom of Information Act request, claims that Rocco frequented a bar while on duty, gambled at a bar while on duty, publicly maintained an extra-marital relationship with a drug user, had an unreported conversation with an area drug dealer and was likely present where drugs were being kept.The report also highlights past incidents when Rocco was disciplined by the department for intimidating a middle school student, trying to make contact with a 17-year-old girl and for not securing two police bicycles that were stolen while on duty.“Officer Rocco’s conduct has impaired the morale, integrity and reputation of the police department and its members,” the report read.“Officer Rocco is a detriment to the police department and the city of Newburyport.His poor conduct and lack of understanding or remorse for his poor behavior has shown that he is not fit to perform the duties of police.
There is a clear pattern of rules violation and conduct unbecoming of a police officer.”Beginning of the investigation According to the report, suspicions regarding Rocco’s conduct reached full boil on May 23 following the drunken-driving arrest of a longtime friend shortly after leaving the Elks Lodge on Low Street.
A check of the Newburyport police arrest logs on that date indicate that the only person arrested for drunken driving was Mark J. Mc Kiniry was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol (third offense), marked lanes and impeded operation.
The log also shows the same list of charges and location of the arrest as documented in the internal investigation. Gregory Whitney arrested him on High Street, Rocco arrived at the scene and told his supervisor that he was a close friend of Mc Kiniry.
He also told Whitney that he would not get involved in his friend’s arrest.
The next day at roll call, Rocco told Whitney that he stopped by the Elks Lodge shortly after clearing the scene where he checked on some Keno numbers he played at the club.
While at the club, he overheard a phone conversation between a bartender and another person where they discussed whether they should deny Mc Kiniry had been drinking at the club prior to his arrest.