Ousted New Hampshire police chief heads home in underwear after turning in guns and uniform

A New Hampshire police chief stripped down to his underwear and walked into a snowstorm after being stripped of his duties at a local board meeting Tuesday night.

Richard Lee was the police chief for nearly 20 years until a three-member selectboard voted to rely solely on coverage from the New Hampshire State Police during the meeting. He worked part-time as the only member of the department -- which covers the town of Croydon's roughly 700 residents.

He was told to immediately turn in his guns and uniform as well as the keys to his police cruiser, so Lee took off his gear before the board chairman.

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“I gave them my uniform shirt. I gave them my turtleneck, I gave them my ballistic vest. ... I sat down in the chair, took off my boots, took off my pants, put those in the chair, and put my boots back on, and walked out the door," Lee said.

 I sat down in the chair, took off my boots, took off my pants, put those in the chair, and put my boots back on, and walked out the door," Lee said. 

He didn't have spare clothes or a ride home, so Lee walked nearly a mile in 26-degree temperatures before his wife picked him up.

Lee said that if he had left with his gear he feared the possibility of being arrested, even though the chairman, Russell Edwards, said the ex-chief's actions were unnecessary.

“This is what they demanded and this is what I’m doing,” he said, according to The Valley News.

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Edwards released a statement Wednesday saying the decision to remove Lee “was an action based upon value for the cost of the department," the paper said.

He added that state police cover incidents in the town 81 percent of the time.

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Lee said he is discussing what happened with his attorney.

The Associated Press contributed to the report.