Portland’s next top cop to be crime cuddler?


illustration/Corey Pandolph
illustration/Corey Pandolph

Portland’s next top cop to be crime cuddler?
Unsubstantiated gossip indicates dramatic shift in law enforcement

By Al Diamon (or, possibly, somebody pretending to be Al Diamon and risking one major-ass lawsuit)
Mike Chitwood’s chair as chief of the Portland Police Department would hardly have had time to grow cold – assuming there was enough meat on Chitwood’s skinny white ass to warm that fine Corinthian leather in the first place – before rumors began circulating about his successor. Chitwood departed August 12, after 17 years as the city’s front man for law enforcement, to become the new head of the cop shop in Upper Darby, Pa.

While his resignation was said to have been voluntary, many suspected Chitwood had been allowed to hang around only until a federal investigation of his department had been completed (“Police officers in Portland hardly ever beat up middle-class white people with political connections, so what’s the big deal?”), thereby allowing him to depart with some measure of dignity (“Face the door, Mike. Now, bend over”).

Given Chitwood’s long history of intemperate public comments, shameless mugging for the TV cameras and numerous costly lawsuits, it’s small wonder City Hall is seeking a markedly different personality to replace him. As one Portland political insider we didn’t talk to put it, “Mike saw everything from the perspective of a cop. We need a chief with a radically different point of view – somebody who thinks like a criminal. Or at least a punk.”

Perhaps that’s why we’ve been told (by no one in particular) that City Manager Joe Gray is planning not only to hire someone from outside the department, but also someone from outside the law. According to a source that some news organizations might label “fictitious,” the next chief of the PPD will be none other than Christopher Lud Busby, editor of this very Web site.

Busby could not be reached for comment (the person who answered the phone in his office said he was vacationing “in France or Chechnya or someplace”), but his official spokesman, who asked to be identified as the future public-relations officer for the Portland Police Department, admitted Busby, a well-known journalist-DJ-eco-weirdo, had engaged in “serious discussions” with “Joe Gray or else somebody cleverly disguised as Joe Gray.”

Busby, the former editor of Casco Bay Weekly and an ex-reporter for theForecaster, is described by acquaintances as “swarthy” and “usually acting in a suspicious manner.” This has led to speculation as to whether he represents a threat to freedom and/or the American way of life. A source at the Department of Homeland Security (who we would have called for this story if this Web page could afford long-distance service) refused to speculate on whether Busby was a threat to public safety, but did say the buzz on computer sites frequented by this country’s enemies was that the top spot for vacations in 2006 was “the accursed wasteland full of unbelievers that is Portland, Maine.”

A Maine tourism official, who wished to remain anonymous because we made him up, doubted Busby’s possible selection as chief of police had anything to do with the sudden surge in reservation inquiries from people on the federal do-not-fly list. “It’s probably our TV spots,” the official said. “After all, those ads have Gov. Baldacci in them. He appeals to all kinds of people.”

Another sign the Chitwood era has come to an end, and the age of Busby may be about to begin: Next year’s family-friendly Old Port Festival has been cancelled and will be replaced by a summer-long event tentatively titled “The International Orgy of Drunken Street Urination, Vomiting and Deviant Sexual Activity.” Initial reports say teams of competitors are expected from Syria, Iran, North Korea and New Hampshire.

Also, Portland’s most notorious street gang, the FSU Posse, will soon be allowed to hold recruiting meetings in public schools and send threatening messages home to parents demanding lunch money. As a school department official might have said if we’d bothered to ask, “Unlike the Boy Scouts, the FSU Posse does not discriminate against gays and lesbians. They beat up anybody, regardless of sexual orientation.”

Nonexistent police insiders say that under a Busby regime, violence between motorcycle clubs in the city will be limited. Each organization will be given a monthly quota of the number of people they’re allowed to shoot. If they exceed that number, the following month’s quota will be severely reduced.

Busby’s spokesman said that with those problems under control, cops will be able to concentrate on different priorities. Under the new chief, he said, the department will focus its attention on arresting “infidels.” Asked to give an example of such persons, he said, “That Cloutier person on the City Council has what Shakespeare called ‘a lean and hungry look.’ Well, hungry, anyway.”

Al Diamon writes the weekly column “Politics & Other Mistakes,” which appears in several Maine newspapers. He can be e-mailed at aldiamon@herniahill.net. But if you happen to mention this article in your e-mail, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t seem to know what you’re talking about. To put it as politely as possible, Diamon lives out where the radio signals get a little fuzzy. So it’s possible he’s forgotten all about writing this story, which we’re sure he intended as his way of welcoming The Bollard into existence and lending his immense credibility to this fledgling media outlet.

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